Stop early and forced marriages

Stop early and forced marriages

Last week, a senior four student at King’s College Secondary School in Jonglei State was reportedly removed forcefully from the examination hall by his brother to be married off.

The family of the girl stormed the school compound demanding that she be stopped from sitting her examinations and handed over to them, according to Lual Monyluak Dau, the state Minister of General Education and Instruction.

He said an attempt by the school administration to persuade the family of Adut Garang to allow their girl to complete her exams was futile.

“The brother and his friends took the candidate and left the school premises.”

“We don’t know where they have taken Adut. “We informed the Member of Parliament representing the county and the legal advisor of the government to convince the relatives of Adut Garang to allow her to sit for the exam papers that she had missed,” Lual said.

This is a clear violation of the country’s constitution as well as international law on child rights. Second, this also, to a greater extent, has shown weaknesses when it comes to the enforcement of the law.  These people who forcefully removed the girl from the exam room should have been arrested for abusing the girl’s right to education.

Not anywhere on this planet can such a drama happen and end like that without the perpetrator being arrested by the law enforcement agency? If we had a strong law enforcement agency, the school administration would have called on the police right away to rescue her.

Unfortunately, the school administration was so vulnerable that it was brought to its knees to negotiate for the girl’s rights, which did not succeed. Also, there was no point in negotiating as they had already been proven wrong due to their actions and they could be another group of conmen.

This is so serious, and embarrassing to the authorities in Jonglei State. The national government needs to take a step to avoid the repetition of such a primitive act in the future.  We are living in a modern time that is governed by the law and not the traditional customary laws. And for that matter, there is no other law that is above the national constitution.

We are not just a collection of tribes but people who are governed by the constitution whose law conforms with the other international laws. This means whatever laws or beliefs we have in our respective customary laws are not above the constitution. Every community has to stop the over-exercising of their traditional laws that contradict especially those that undermine girls child’s right to education.

Education is not a privilege but a right that every child in South Sudan and around the world is entitled to. Let’s stop early and forced marriage in South Sudan.