Women in South Sudan demand representation in Gov't

Added On May 16, 2019

 Women across South Sudan say not enough is being done to implement a peace deal signed last September. They are calling for real actions from the country’s leaders and the international community to make peace a reality.

Lifestyles has the story.
UN peacekeeping chief Jean-Pierre Lacroix met with representatives from South Sudanese women's groups to discuss their role in the implementation of last year's peace agreement.
South Sudanese leaders recently delayed the formation of a new transitional government in order to resolve outstanding issues, like unifying the country's armed forces and forming new states.
Lacroix acknowledged that it will take time to make the changes, but also urged South Sudan's leaders to take urgent action to fully implement the agreement.
SOUNDBITE (English)2: JEAN-PIERRE LACROIX, UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations:
"If nothing happens within the next six months, we will be in the same situation that we are in today. In fact, we think that if nothing happens, the situation will deteriorate six months’ from now, so it’s quite critical to really do our best."
Women’s groups across the country are demanding that political parties live up to their commitment to implement a 35 percent quota for women in the new government.
SOUNDBITE (English) 1: MARY AKECH BIOR, Women's Bloc of South Sudan:
"Nobody is supporting the women of South Sudan and we are just looking to the world, what is going on? Always people come to us and ask what women of South Sudan saying are? What are you doing? How are you seeing things? But we don’t have supporters to support us doing it, like the dissemination of the peace agreement, which as I said before, will be good for the women of South Sudan to do so with the civil society together because we are the majority and we are the ones affected by war. We have no interest in war. Our interest is to have peace in the nation."
SOUNDBITE(English)3: HON. THERESA CIRISIO, Chairperson of Sanu National:
"As to now, women we are trying our best to see to it that we come up to address the 35 per cent given to us by the revitalized peace agreement and we really urge that women should get a better chance in capacity-building because it is women who know what it is that hurts women and how to bring women side-to-side with men."
South Sudanese women also want to see justice for the crimes they have suffered, particularly the victims of sexual violence. International delegates have pledged to support their cause.
SOUNDBITE(English): CHERGUI SMAIL, African Union Peace and Security Commissioner:
"During our interaction, specifically with the President but also with all stakeholders, the issue of empowering women, the issue of inclusivity, the issue of protecting women, the issue of gender-based violence is at the heart of our action. And I can assure you that we in the African Union are taking very seriously these issues."
Group representatives say they are confident that lasting peace will become a reality in South Sudan if women are given the opportunity to take the leadership roles they deserve.