A group of women lawyers on Tuesday presented a petition to the Deputy Speaker of South Sudan Parliament Timothy Tot demanding the parliament to take serious action against child marriage and auctioning of young girls on Facebook.
According to the women lawyers, some of the known offenders engaging in child marriage and bidding competitions of girls were constitutional post holders, senior government officials and military generals across the country.
The move was prompted by recent auctioning of a 17-year-old girl from Eastern Lakes State in which a Deputy Governor of the state was a candidate.
“The lawyers want an end to the bad traditional and cultural practices that violates the right of women and girls in the country.”
“It is with a dismay to the women of South Sudan that such actions are still publicly practiced within the country with the knowledge of lawmakers cognizant of the child Act 2008 which deems child marriage illegal,” Said Monica Adhiue, the Acting Executive Director National Alliance for Women Lawyers.
“We urge the transitional Government and its line ministries to take up their respective roles to implement the law by monitoring and urgently ending the practice of child marriage and girl auctioning,” Monica added.
The lawyers further called on the authorities to ensure that the perpetrators face due legal process as articulated in the strategic action plan to end child marriages 2017-2030.
On receiving the petition, the Deputy Speaker Timothy Tot acknowledged that the practice has been common in the county but said it was not a priority yet.
Six men competed to marry Nyalong Ngong Deng with various proposals; one suitor paraded 520 heifers and three Toyota V8 cars to win the teenager’s heart.
South Sudanese tycoon Kok Alat eventually emerged victorious as there was no any other suitor to match his 520 heifers, three Toyota V8 cars and 10,000 US Dollars.
David Mayom Riak who was the Deputy Governor of the State came third with 353 cows plus a piece of land while Mawut Agorok managed 187 animals.
“We call upon the state authorities and traditional leaders to enforce the available legal provisions and to implement the strategic national action plan on ending child marriage and traditional practices which violate girl child rights and in order to protect the girl child at all cost,” Monica added.