South Sudanese call for peace, ending sexual violence against women
Juba, March 8, 2018 (Xinhua/NAN) South Sudan on Thursday joined the rest of the world in marking the International Women’s Day amid calls for ending gender-based violence, sexual abuse, discrimination in the war-torn nation.
Hundreds of women marked the event by staging a peaceful procession in Juba carrying placards calling for empowerment and an end to all forms of women’s rights violations.
Women interviewed by newsmen said the civil war that is now in its fifth year and a biting economic crisis have caused a lot of suffering in their lives.
“Our children and husbands are dying daily. Women are being raped. How long will this continue? We want peace and reconciliation in our country,’’ 55-year-old Jane Kaku told newsmen.
According to a survey released in November 2017 by the International Rescue Committee, violence perpetrated against women and girls in war-torn South Sudan are among the highest in the world and twice the global average.
“Old women are being raped, small girls are being gang raped.
“Government must implement the law and punish these rapists because women in south Sudan are tired of suffering,’’ activist Sarah Keji said.
Awut Deng Achuil, Minister of Gender and Social Welfare, said women who make up over 60 per cent of South Sudan’s population continue to bear the brunt of violence from armed groups, sexual violence and child marriage.
Achuil said immediate action focusing on investment in women’s programs is needed for attainment of gender parity in the world’s youngest nation.
“It is sad that our girls are booked for marriage when they are three years old. It is too much to bear. Time is now to take action to change the lives of women through silencing the guns,’’ Achuil said.
According to the UN, gender-based violence (GBV) is persistent and a serious problem in the East African nation as 98 per cent of GBV incidents reported in South Sudan in 2016 affected women and girls.
The UN said that GBV included rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, forced and early marriage that affect women, girls, boys and men.
David Shearer, head of the UN mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), urged the government and development partners to invest more in women empowerment initiatives for realisation of gender equality and socioeconomic progress for all women in south Sudan.
“This day is about women and girls, but is it also about peace.
“It is a chance to challenge ourselves to find other ways to transform their lives of women and girls in South Sudan and across the world,’’ Shearer said. (Xinhua/NAN)
Edited by Abiodun Oluleye/Felix Ajide
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