29th September 2023
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Man freed after promising not to force underage daughter into marriage

Author: Charles Wote | Published: Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Police handcuffs

A man held in police custody for allegedly forcing his 15-year-old daughter into marriage has been released on condition his daughter go back to school until she an adult.

The man, whose identity has been withheld, was arrested last Friday after the minor’s lawyer filed a police case against him at the Northern Division station in Juba.

He was charged with intent to force the underage into marriage.

Advocate Josephine Adhet Deng who represented the minor as a complainant says the teen’s father agreed to allow his daughter to study until she is 25 and to decide whether to marry or whom to marry.

The written agreement Monday was witnessed by the attorney and a police investigator at the Juba Northern Police Division station.

“The father asked me to drop the case if indeed he was arrested because he asked his daughter to marry a man, he said he will call off the marriage and allow his daughter to continue with her education,” said lawyer Josephine.

“I told him [the father] that I will only suspend the case on condition that you bring a witness and someone who will bail you out,

“I also demanded for written commitment that he [father] will not marry off his daughter and she will remain in the school until she reaches 25-year-old because she is 15 now,

“So, I give him [father] another five years to let his daughter continue [with] her studies and then after that she [daughter] can decide whom she will [get] marriage to.”

The unnamed teenage girl is currently a primary eight pupil in Juba.

Commenting on the matter, the former Justice of the Court of Appeal, Geri Raimondo says child marriage is a crime and it is a constitutional responsibility of everyone to protect children against the vice.

“The impact of that agreement in law we consider to be null and void in nature without any legal effect because it is the violation of the constitution article 7 close 4,” said Dr. Geri.

“It is the duty of the entire people of South Sudan and parents to be inclusive. Most importantly in each area, the neighbors whether North, South, East and West of each house these are people responsible for any mistake committed by human being whether parents or anybody who is allowing a child to be marriage because it is a crime,

“The problem here is our chiefs and our chairpersons of quarter council within the towns, the chiefs in the villages, they don’t know about this right.”

Section 23 of the South Sudan Child Act 2011 says every child has the right to be protected from early marriage, forced circumcision, scarification, tattooing, piercing, tooth removal, or any other cultural rite and custom.

The law also says children must also be protected against traditional practices that are likely to negatively affect their child’s life, health, welfare, dignity or physical, emotional, psychological, mental and intellectual development.

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