Too Young For Marriage…

By Data Gordon

The Strategic National Action Plan to end child marriage in South Sudan 2017-2030 was launched mid this year by the 1st Vice President together with the Minister of Gender, Child and Social Welfare in Nyakuron Cultural Center.

It brought all State Governor’s and other dignitaries. State Governors were tasked to lead the end to child marriage right from their states.

In page 4 and I quote, “South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has committed himself and the Government to reduce child marriage by the end of 2030”.

It’s sad to see reports that Nyalong, a 17 years old girl still regarded as a child as per the South Sudan Child Act, is being auctioned while the leadership is watching. Above all, top state government officials are said to be part of the bidders.

In Awerial, Humanitarian workers were evicted from a hotel simply because one of the bidders paid for the whole hotel and wants to stay alone in the hotel, possibly to show that he has the muscles to win the 17 years old child, Nyalong.

Much as South Sudan committed to the implementation of the African Union “Campaign to End Child Marriage” within a decade, the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare, other government officials, civil society and law implementors are yet to come out loud against this bidding.

The practice of cow raiding stems from child marriage and perpetuates inter-communial conflict and poverty as quoted on page 18 (3.2.3). “Cattle laundering and raiding is thriving in South Sudan and is intimately linked to child marriage”, it continued.

Worst case is the little girl has absolutely no right to make her own decisions. It’s sad that we tend to forget that child marriage leads to higher rates of maternal and infant mortality and morbidity.

To be continued…

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