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South Sudan stakeholders urge speedy enactment of anti-GBV legislation

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November 30, 2023 (JUBA) – South Sudan requires a strategic plan to enable government allocate a budget for the elimination of the violence against women campaign, an official said on Thursday.

Speaking during the 16 Days of Activism launch in Juba, Interior Minister, Angelina Teny said gender-based violence hinders society’s efforts to unlock the full potentials of women and girls.

“Violence against women is a societal issue requiring involvement of all stakeholders,” she noted.

The 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence is an annual international campaign to defy violence against all women and girls. The global campaign annually runs from November 25

Teny, who spoke on behalf of the Gender, Child and Social Welfare minister, acknowledged the important role customary courts play in resolving family cases in communities within the country.

“There is need to strengthen laws that protect our women and girls from violence,” she stressed. 

Violence against women and girls in South Sudan remains an endemic problem inhibiting the full participation of women in decision making at the community, economy and the society in general.

The acting Undersecretary in the Gender, Child and Social Welfare ministry, Joseph Loro said a lot has been done about policies and awareness raising on gender-based violence in the country.

“A multi-sectorial approach is needed to tackle gender-based violence challenges,” he explained, while calling for the expeditious enactment of the anti-gender-based violence and family laws.

Violence disproportionately affects women living in low and lower middle-income countries.

An estimated 37% of women living in the poorest countries have experienced physical or sexual intimate partner violence in their life, with some of these countries having a prevalence as high as 1 in 2, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Country Director, Ademola Olajide stated.

“We cannot make sustainable economic progress if we cannot ably address gender-based violence in societies. There is thus need to change norms that underestimate our women and girls,” he stated.

Meanwhile SSLS called upon the Revitalized Transitional National Legislative Assembly (R-TNLA) to leverage the 16 Days of Activism as an opportunity to expedite the enactment of the anti-Gender Based Violence (GBV) Bill, Family Bill and Women Enterprise Development Fund.

“We are therefore calling upon the media, all stakeholders and the general public to participate in the campaign and invest to support the advancement of women rights,” it noted in a statement.

This year’s campaign theme; Unite! Invest to prevent violence against women and girls calls for global action to focus on financing different prevention strategies to stop violence from occurring.

According to a study conducted by South Sudan Law Society (SSLS) and Legal Action Worldwide (LAW), up to 90 % of gender-based violence cases are heard in customary courts presided by older male judges with deeply ingrained patriarchal views, which generally condone domestic violence.

South Sudan, the 2018 study revealed, accounts for the second highest prevalence case of GBV in the region. A substantial proportion of its women (aged 15-64), it observed, experience gender-based violence either in the form of physical (34.0%) or sexual (13.5%) violence in their lifetime.

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