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Dr. Wani Igga calls for abolition of dowry

By Kitab A Unango

The Vice President Dr. James Wani Igga has called for elimination of dowry saying child marriage was being encouraged by the dowry most parents receive for daughters.

“Dowry must be stopped. Other countries have abolished child marriage long time ago. If we do not stop the traditional payment of dowry, child marriage shall never end in this country and we must abolish it so as to stop child marriage,” said Dr. Igga.

He was addressing a gathering during the launch of a thirteen year Strategic National Action Plan (SNAP) to end early child marriage in the country.

According to the Vice-President, all marriages must be regulated to ensure that no child was forced for marriage. “Laws should be enacted to ensure that whoever gets married is given the certificate to end child marriage.”

Dr. Igga added that Police and prosecutors should be trained to arrest, investigate and prosecute those who violate child rights citing that child marriage was the violation of child rights.

The founded SNAP document shall give the girl child the right to enjoy full childhood free from the risk of child marriage.

Despite strong legal protective measures and related-though limited-programmes, children’s rights and especially the rights of girls continue to be violated in the country. As one of the 40 countries with the world’s highest prevalence rates, child marriage is one of the most widespread violations of child rights in South Sudan.

According to the 2010 household survey, 7 percent of women aged 15-49 years were married before the age of 15, and 45 percent of the women 20-49 married before the age of 15.

Awut Deng Achuil, the national Minister of Gender, Child and Social Welfare said the SNAP was in line with the global sustainable development goal to child marriage by 2030.

“The strategic national action plan, among others, is to improve the policy and legal environment to protect children and promote the girl-child’s rights,’ she said.

Bishop Isaiah Dau said according to the Holy Bible, parents were supposed to teach their children in such a way that they abandon them after they have grown up.

“We should teach the children diligently and make sure that what we teach is what we do. Teach them to know that sex is not for children, it is for married couples,” he said.

The launching of SNAP was attended by senior government officials including national Minister of Health, Dr. Riak Gai Kok, Anthony Lino Makana, Speaker of Transitional National Legislative assembly as well as Jubek State governor Gen. Augustino Jadalla and Moustapha Soumare the United Nations Deputy Special Representative of Secretary General in South Sudan.

Moustapha Soumare urged the government to act now to end child marriage in the country adding that over 40 percent of the young girls in the country were being married while they are still premature.


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