Gender Director threatens legal measures against child marriage
By Manyuon Mayen Manyuon
The Director of Gender Affairs at Jonglei state Ministry of Education, Child and social welfare has threatened to take legal measures against early child and forced marriages addicts who had insisted to continue with the habit for quite long.
Director General Duot Akech blamed early child marriages on most parents and guardians who had continuously relaxed to observe the directives on most of the occasions.
He was speaking to the state actors and women groups on the status of girl’s child during a closing session of two days’ dissemination of the R-ARCSS workshop to the public sectors in Jonglei state on Friday.
The event was conducted by the National Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare in collaboration with UNDP in Bor town.
Akech said that he was concerned over the issue for the sake of human life since most of the women could seriously suffer from difficulties during birth.
He said that the act of viewing ladies as bride wealth in the cultures should cease from happening.
“When we see our daughters, we don’t see them as human beings, we rate and level them as money and bride prices but this shouldn’t be the case,” he said.
“Whenever, people come in for marriage then we don’t mind of who is coming to marry our daughters. Some people just give their girls on who has paid expensive bride wealth compared to the ages. We need to think over this,” he said.
He revealed that though the people have never respected the directorate principles, he cited that they were working hard to establish resolution that would be in terms of legal actions without failure.
“We have tried in our offices, but nothing materializes. So we are going to frame these measures with all the legal fraternity and authorities of the areas here,” he said
“In other countries, people were sentenced to year’s imprisonment on the question of child marriage. I believe, we would adopt the move,” he said.
According to him, his directorate was planning to call high level conference with the stakeholders and lawyers to decide the punishments for such individuals.
“We are going to call all the paramount chiefs, commissioners, other stakeholders and lawyers on the welfare of the children. We must have a conference to discuss the life of our children. If our children are equivalent to cows or what then we will have to let the people know,” he said.
He said that though early child marriage campaigns have become a regular song sang by the people without being observed, he assured that the law enforcement should take a priority.
“From that time, people will come with the resolution and the resolution would not be in terms of the cows but probably legal measures. What is going to be effective is the enforcement of law,” Akech stressed.
“Law must be imposed on such people so that they begin to fear. Husbands and fathers of the girls must have to be involved. These abnormalities which had always been done in the darkness should come to an end,” he said.
He stated that the move would act as a cornerstone to trace those literate people who were rapidly marrying off young girls in the state.