21st March 2023
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GBV social worker to intervene in forced marriage case

Author: Baria Johnson | Published: Sunday, March 19, 2023

Child marriage in SOuth Sudan is deeply rooted in gender inequality and harmful social norms, according to UNICEF. (Photo: UNICEF South Sudan).

A Gender-Based-Violence social worker at the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare is considering intervention in a child marriage situation involving a 14-year-old girl in Juba.

This comes after Eye Radio reported the story of an elderly woman seeking help to stop her son’s plan to marry off his teenage daughter.

Mary Konga, 75, said her eldest son called her early this month demanding to take his daughter to the village.

The elderly woman said her son, who had abandoned the child when she was a baby, now wants to force her into marriage.

Betty Thomas, a GBV social worker at the Ministry of Gender said she will visit the elderly woman to hear her story.

Betty said she will report the matter to the police and the Ministry of Gender afterwards.

“I will trace the place where the girl is staying, rescue her and report to social welfare and the police because we have to rescue such a girl,” she said.

“They cannot allow this girl to go and get married the girl has to continue with her school and let the people know that these days it is not good to push children to be married.”

“Because they are underage and needs to continue with their studies. If the father who plans to marry the girl comes to Juba, they need to open a case so that the man is arrested and taken to court.”

Nearly half of all girls in South Sudan marry before the age of 18.

A 2013 report from Human Rights Watch1 highlights that dowry often leads families to force their girls to marry as early as possible, often after first menstruation.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which is ratified by South Sudan states that children have the right to protection from harm, including child marriage.

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