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Government urged to enact family law to support women-Rights groups .

By. Ruot George

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, on November 1st heard from representatives of non-governmental organizations on the situation of women’s rights in in four countries including South Sudan, Russian Federation, Kyrgyzstan
and South Africa,

The following non-governmental organizations spoke on South Sudan:
Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa; Islamic
Development and Relief Agency and Musawah and Maat for Peace.

The committee urged the government to “engage in legal reform”, in “consultation with civil society, and enact a comprehensive national
family law.”

South Sudanese women wanted a family law through which
they could access rights to marry, divorce, gain custody of children,
be protected from spousal abuse, and inherit marital property. Muslim
women suffered from the absence of a comprehensive family law because a male guardianship system treated them as perpetual legal minors, a speaker noted.

The organisations said rape continued to be used as a tool to in still fear in many communities across the nation, and deeply entrenched impunity continued to be a driver for that pattern of violence in many areas across South Sudan according to the committee.

The CEDAW added “Women in South Sudan were afraid to be vocal on issues regarding peace and security”, and “the Government should include them in such processes as well as in conflict resolution processes.”

The Government should seek redress for all victims of sexual and marital violence, and stop using girls and women as weapons of war, and as means of pressure between conflict parties,
others said.

South Sudanese civil society organizations said quotas for women in
political parties were not fully implemented on the ground, although
the Government continued to claim that they were. South Sudan is good at accepting things on paper, they observed, but there is always  a lack of political will to implement international conventions it had signed on

Quotas for women were not implemented due to the country’s
patriarchal background, a speaker said, and women were still
advocating for inclusion at all levels of leadership.

The CEDAW session is being held from 18 October to 12 November. All

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