No work done on the anti-GBV bill, says official

The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Gender Child and Social Welfare, Regina Osai, said the Ministry of Justice never worked on the anti-GBV bill despite spending two years. This came after the women activists met the undersecretary on the follow-up of the bill on Wednesday.

Osai said they received the anti-GBV bill last week from the Ministry of Justice but the bill needs to be reviewed so that the Ministry of Justice can work on it.

“The anti-GBV bill has been in the Ministry of Justice for over two years; they did not do anything after looking into it; they say they have other priorities, but lastly, they told the ministry to work on the bill, so last week the ministry sent the bill back to the Ministry of Gender to fill the missing gap,” she said.

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According to Osai, the Ministry of Gender will organise a meeting of experts so that “we can sit down and work on the anti-BGV bill, and the consultation will be started soon by the different categories, one of which is government.”

 She added that they will also consult parliamentarians and civil society.

“Though we draft the bill, the Ministry of Justice is the final body to look into it, and then they will be passed to the undersecretary clusters to analyze it and bring the bill back to the Ministry of Gender, then we will pass it to the office of the gender cluster and the council of ministers.”

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The anti-GBV bill was presented to the Ministry of Justice in 2020 by the women-led organization in collaboration with the Ministry of Gender Child and Social Welfare.

 According to UNFPA, South Sudan ranks second among East African countries with the prevalence of Gender-Based Violence. A World Bank report of 2018 revealed that Uganda led by 49 per cent prevalence of cases of GBV—physical and sexual— among people aged 15-49. South Sudan had a prevalence of 41 per cent.

A survey adduced by a researcher, Dr. Augustino Ting Mayai, indicated that Ruweng Administrative Area led with 43 per cent, Warrap (39.7 per cent), Eastern Equatoria (39.1 per cent), Jonglei (39.1 per cent) and Central Equatoria (38.6 per cent) report the highest rates of physical violence in the country.

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“Similarly, the study documented a high prevalence of child marriage (34.6 per cent, nationally) with Lakes and Jonglei states accounting for the high rates of child marriage in the country – 60.7 per cent and 40.9 per cent, respectively,” UNFPA notes.

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