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WAU - 26 Jun 2012

Constitution should allow only girls 18+ to marry and prohibit polygamy

Women from Western Bahr El Ghazal have demanded that the permanent Constitution of South Sudan ban polygamy and allow only girls above the age of 18 years to marry. The current Constitution respects customary law regarding family relations and the Child Act does not specify whether a person who is still a minor may marry. Forced marriages of girls below 16 years old is common practice in South Sudan.

These were the main conclusions reached by the participants on a three-day Constitution review workshop organized by South Sudan Women Empowerment Network in Wau, the local Radio Voice of Hope reported. Kaidi Cleto Hassan read the workshop resolution that should be included in the constitution to journalists at Friday’s closing ceremony. 

Lillian Rizik is the Executive Director for South Sudan Women Empowerment Network and was one of the workshop’s facilitators. She said the Transitional Constitution is gender-sensitive and cares for the rights of women. She said the Constitution should establish the marriageable age for girls at 18 to avoid early pregnancies and maternal mortality. Ms Rizik stated that the three-day workshop aimed at enlightening the women about their rights in the Constitution and identifying gaps in the Charter.