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Chief appeals for women’s land rights

By Wek Atak Kacjang

Gumbo South Community Sub- Chief has called on the government to uphold women’s rights to own land.

Philip Jada Anthony said giving women their rights to own lands are essential to democracy, peace, justice and sustainable development.

He was speaking at the Voice for Change community dialogue forum with community chiefs, elders, women and the youth.

Jada said women do not have control over the land they depend on and are less likely to be included in decision-making about land and are more susceptible to displacement and exploitation.

Speaking to Juba Monitor yesterday, Jada said women should not be excluded from decisions about the sale or lease of their land.

He added that women have no claim to compensation when the land is taken by an investor, corporation, or the government.

The compounding factors, Jada said make women to lose access to firewood, fibers, food or medicine from forests, which are designated as conservation areas.

“In the absence of secure occupational rights, women may be ejected from their homes upon the death of a husband, lack of recourse when an abusive partner kicks them out. When crises or wars strike, women’s already tenuous right to land is further weakened, extinguishing access to services and compensation tied to land ownership or use,” Jada said.

He added that in contrast, when women have secure rights to land, myriad benefits tend to follow.

Jada likened stronger women’s rights to land to enhanced status, improved living conditions, better nutrition and food sovereignty.

As chief he said he will specially give land to a woman who lost her husband and left children because land gives better improvement, health and education outcomes, higher earning and individual savings, and better access to credit, as well as better protection from gender base violence.

Rose Labina, one of participants who represented Custom resident said women should be considered by their in-laws after the death of their husbands.

She observed that discriminatory laws and social norms undercut women’s access to the transformative power of land.

“We want the government to intervene if there is attempt of such situation in order for women to be able to enjoy their land rights in practice. States must urgently change those laws and social norms, which impose barriers to women’s right to own and access to land in more than half the world.  Practices must also be changed,” Labina said. 

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