Friday, March 8, 2013

South Sudan – End Widespread Child Marriage

Brice Hwang

Girls in South Sudan are marrying on average between the age of 15 to 19. “This Old Man Can Feed Us, You will Marry Him: Child and Forced Marriage in South Sudan” is a report documenting the lack of protection of females resisting marriage or wanting to leave marriages and the challenges they face in South Sudan. Woman refusing early marriage are physically abused by their family while those that married are abused by their “husband”. For instance a 17 year old girl refusing to marry a stranger was physically beaten until she died. For individuals that do enter marriage, they no longer have access to education, are at risk of violence, and have a high potential for medical needs due to ill-health. The number of females attending school is very low, and the opportunity for victims to pursue careers disappears quickly. Also, early marriage leads to early pregnancy, childbirth, and in many cases physical illnesses, all of which has a detrimental effect on young women. 

A number of human rights are being violated in South Sudan: limited access to education, no security, no freedom of marriage, no freedom of will, and more. The government of South Sudan needs to get involved to promote and increase security and protection of girls from early marriages. It is horrifying to imagine that even the simplest of human rights are being violated. Failure to prevent child marriage will have a negative impact on South Sudan's future. Therefore, in order to give all women and females their human rights it is of the utmost importance that South Sudan work on developing laws on marriage and related matters.

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