Police defend crackdown on ‘indecent dress code’ in Juba
The police spokesperson, Maj Gen. Daniel Justin, defended an ongoing operation on what he describes as indecent dressing among some women.
In an interview with The City Review on Monday, Justin said the authorities had been alarmed by the new trend of indecent dressing which must be addressed.
“We have addressed it through our activities of community policing, making awareness in our communities because we have community policing outreach,” he said.
However, the law that the police are enforcing is unclear, as there is no mention of the dress code in the constitution of South Sudan and the Police Act.
Maj Gen. Justin emphasised that they can give dress code guidelines.
“Yes, dressing style is alarming; the constitution gives the outlines, but the rest are to be in the laws, like the city council regulations,” he remarked.
“Dressing style needs to be one of the policies to be achieved by making people aware that what they are wearing is not in our culture. You look around, nobody is wearing it the way they are, especially these youngsters,” he said.
The operation attracted condemnation from women rights activist, Nunu Alison, saying the officers were overstepping their mandate.
This came after several women in Juba complained against the police officers, whom they said were cutting their clothes, claiming that were indecent.
According to Nunu, the police are acting out of laws and conventions, especially at this time of 16 days of activism against women and girls.
“Cutting women’s clothes is one of the most dehumanizing acts. We were all taken by surprise, but in this 21st century, we are still counted down for what we choose to wear as women. A woman who chose to put on trousers that is her decision,” she argued.
“Women chose what to wear but going ahead and cutting her to walk naked to me is the saddest thing that is happening in South Sudan, yet we are considered the country that is not safe for girls and women.”
The activist argued that there is no circulation of any order issued by the government on banning ‘indecent clothes.’
Monica Monny, one of the victims whose pairs of trousers were cut by the police on Saturday, appealed to the government to stop the ongoing operation by the police on women’s addresses.
“It happened on Saturday while heading to the training in Juba. Around Gudele 2, I met three men, one police and one army, and the other was in non-uniform. They called me, and I decided to go. After interrogation, they decided to cut my trousers just like that,” she said.
According to Monica, the government was supposed to issue an order alerting the women so that every woman can be aware.