Minister of Land & Housing proposes customary law review

South Sudan Minister of Land and Housing Michael Chiengjiek Geah speaking in Juba during Women's land right conference on Thursday, 24th June

South Sudan Minister of Land and Housing Michael Chiengjiek Geah has called for a mandatory review of customary law, which promoted violation of women’s rights to land ownership.

NGO records reported that “women are often marginalized when land or household property is transferred, as transactions occur without their consent.”

The Minister did not dismiss women’s concerns raise relate to a violation of their equal rights with men to own property.

Speaking during three days of the Women’s conference in Juba, Minister mentioned the customary law that needs to be subjected to firsthand adjustment accelerate serious negligence against female constitutional rights.

According to the Minister, “the customary law should be confronted because the inadequate implementation of the 2009 land act encourages some people who have no land ownership legitimacy tempered with the legal process to corrupt the system”.

UN Women representatives Alinane Kamlongera discouraged gender inequality grasping land in the hands of vulnerable women.

“If were to describe you today to describe what you see when I say women and land rights. I’m sure the story narrated most, if not all those descriptions, about families favoring sons than daughters to donate their land:.

Assuming that the daughters will get land through marriage. The ground will control being by husbands, uncles, and brothers”.

She appealed to the government to respect and promote gender equality to dignified women’s voice of participation.

“We need to dial deep into the issues relate to governance, institutions, policies, and programs, and ensure that women land rights informal law that supports women access and control of that land.”

UNHCR representative Kimberly Roberson says women’s rights historically have been limited inability to access land and property.

She added women and girls’ rights to land can bring peace, stability, and prosperity. Women’s rights are land ownership; their freedom needs to be structured according to the law.

Kimberly suggested that the government can create a good environment with the law, not just a word; the law can become an action people can see.

Undersecretary in the ministry of Gender, child and social welfare Esther Ikere says a women’s right to land ownership is not promoted. They call men to implement women’s access to land.

International standards, women have the right to equality in the enjoyment of all their rights, including the right to access, use, inherit, control, and own land.

JICA reported that South Sudan is a patriarchal one that keeps strict gender norms and rigid gender roles.

Disputes on marriage, property, and inheritances are often judged in accordance to Mandatory customary law review at the expense of women’s rights. Harmonization of customary laws with statutory ones is a significant matter in South Sudan.

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