By John Agok
South Sudan is holding its first ever conference on Women’s land rights to sensitize them on how they can effectively own land.
The Conference that commenced on Thursday in Juba, organized by the consortium of UN Agencies and NGOs in collaboration with the government of South Sudan will run for three days, attracting women representatives at the grassroots.
Michael Changjiek, the National Minister of Land, Housing and Urban Development assured his Ministry’s readiness to implement land policies especially Land Act 2009 for women to know their land ownership rights.
“I called on you (women) to acquire this knowledge and educate your fellow women on land rights, so that, the community must know everyone despite particular gender has absolute rights to own land and other property,” he said.
The conference is held under the theme, “Beyond Policy: Renewed Commitments to Achieve National Obligation on Women’s Land rights in South Sudan.”
Changjiek condemned the customary laws that bar women from having land and affirmed that all the categories of people in the society have rights to own or inherit land and other properties in the society.
“We must challenge our customary laws with legal instruments that reinforce the execution of court order regarding land issues.
“This will preclude land grabbing within the society. We also need to collectively give equal rights to both boys and girls, more especially our widows to own land legally,” he said.
Kimberly Roberson, the UNCHR Representative expressed doubt on how soon the policies emphasized would be translated into action or reality.
“We as the partners would like to see action taken rather paperwork. Beautiful designed policy framework without actual implementation,” she said.