National, News

Lakes state registers 25 cases of early, forced marriages

By Yang Ater Yang


Police in Lakes State have registered at least 25 cases of early and forced marriages across various counties in the state in 2023.

Daniel Jur Marial, the head of the police gender and child protection unit in Rumbek Central County, in 2023 alone, the police received 25 cases of forced marriages and 16 cases of early pregnancies involving girls aged 13, 14, and 15.

Marial noted that while no reports of forced marriages had been received in 2024, cases of early marriage continued to be reported.

These cases were spread across different counties, including Rumbek East, Wulu, Rumbek North (Maper), Cueibet, and Rumbek Central.

“Rumbek East county now is a big county, and now it’s leading in Lakes State and now Wulu county we received 13 cases, and Rumbek North county (Maper) registered 10, and 5 cases from Cueibet county,” he explained.

He urged the community to continue to report such cases to the police.

“State and community level that don’t hide the early force marriages and the early pregnancies and even the force marriages because practicing it is against our Laws of South Sudan and it is against our State law,” he said.

Marial called on the people of Lakes State to respect legislation protecting underage girls from early and forced marriages.

For her part, Angelina Ding Mario, the Minister of Gender and Child Welfare in Lakes State, highlighted that imposing customary laws and public orders can help address the issue.

Mario explained that Section 39 of the law explicitly prohibits early and forced marriages.

She emphasized that legal procedures and the involvement of the judiciary were crucial in handling such cases.

Mario advised young girls in Lakes State to prioritize their education and encouraged them to cooperate with their parents while respecting themselves.

She highlighted instances where parents, due to cultural practices, may try to force their daughters into marriage.

Mario shared examples of cases where her ministry intervened, persuading parents not to marry off their young daughters and ensuring their return to school.

Asunta Mayek, a victim of forced and early marriage from Rumbek, spoke out against these practices.

She stressed that a 15-year-old girl is too young to be married and unable to provide essential services to a family.

Mayek shared her personal experience of being married off at the age of 14 and highlighted the negative impact it had on her well-being and relationships.

“At the time when I got married, I was 14 years old and I was in my primary eight (P.8) in school in 2010, that year I was at Ager gum primary school and it was not true to be married off. It’s good for me to be allowed to study and complete my school first,” she said.

Mayek acknowledged that progress had been made in protecting women’s rights through legislation, which prohibited forced marriages of underage girls in the community.

She appealed to parents to refrain from forcing their daughters into marriage and instead allow them to pursue their education.

Daniel Laat Kon, representing the Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) in Lakes State, discussed the challenges surrounding gender-based violence (GBV) in the region.

Kon highlighted the existence of laws against early and forced marriages but emphasized the need for further efforts to address the persistent societal issues.

Despite the existence of legislation, Kon noted that four cases of forced marriages had already been reported in 2024.

He cited the high number of GBV cases reported in Lakes State, including instances of forced and early marriages which he attributed to forced or early marriages.

Kon emphasized the complications and consequences that arise from such practices, such as health complications during childbirth and a higher likelihood of divorce due to the forced nature of the marriages.

He stressed the importance of raising awareness about GBV and encouraging the community to respect the law and protect the rights of women in Lakes State.


Comments are closed.