- Title: Women in South Sudan discuss ways to tackle gender-based violence
- Date: 11th December 2016
- Summary: BENTIU, SOUTH SUDAN (FILE) (REUTERS) WOMEN AT CAMP FOR DISPLACED WOMAN SELLING SNACKS VARIOUS OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN LOOKING ON
- Embargoed: 26th December 2016 14:16
- Keywords: Gender Based Violence Activism Women Girls Conflict
- Location: JUBA AND BENTIU, SOUTH SUDAN
- City: JUBA AND BENTIU, SOUTH SUDAN
- Country: South Sudan
- Reuters ID: LVA0035CFUK45
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The United Nations mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has launched an event to discuss the right to children and women's education in the country. The event is a part of global events to mark the 16 days of activism against Gender-Based Violence.
Conflict in South Sudan has resulted in many schools closing, with some students abandoning their studies.
Volunteer teachers have had to set up makeshift classrooms in some camps to allow children continue learning in the meantime.
According to the UN children's agency, UNICEF more than 51 percent of school-age children are estimated to be out of school, and only 35 percent of girls are enrolled at primary level.
UNMISS is hosting a women's dialogue meeting to help focus on the right to education especially in areas affected by conflict in the country. The forum will also looks at how issues facing women in South Sudan can be identified and addressed.
"Most of this is really going to be a dialogue among the women. We are going to ask them to identify some of the major problems and some of the major challenges that are facing South Sudan and ask them to come up with concrete suggestions. Suggestions related to how families interact, how communities interact. Specific suggestions from what they want from the government, what they want from the international community to help actually create an environment that will allow for safe education for all especially women and children," said UNMISS Human rights officer, Saadia Aleem.
In December 2013, fighting broke out months after President Salva Kiir, from the Dinka ethnic group, sacked vice president Riek Machar, a Nuer.
The sporadic fighting has increasingly taken on ethnic dimensions.
Hundreds of civilians displaced by conflict continue to struggle to find proper shelter in U.N compounds in the capital meanwhile.
But women across the country are being subjected to sexual slavery, tied to trees and gang-raped or passed from house to house by soldiers, according to U.N. officials, who said rebels were also committing atrocities.
Three in five women in U.N.-administered "protection of civilian" sites around the capital Juba experienced rape or sexual assault, according to a 2016 report by the U.N. Population Fund. The sites are meant to offer safe shelter for civilians.
U.N. human rights investigators have warned that increasingly brutal attacks on women are an integral part of spreading ethnic cleansing. They said the violence could spill into genocide.
A shaky 2015 peace agreement that was supposed to end the latest round of fighting provided for a hybrid court to be set up with responsibilities divided between the African Union and South Sudan, but progress on setting it up remains slow.
"This dialogue will help us because today we know women will come up with a lot of issues that they are facing in their homes and we also want them to at least give us recommendations so that the government and the U.N. will help us implement," said Emilia Konga, acting director, at the state ministry of education.
The 16 days of activism against Gender Based Violence is observed every year from November 25 to December 10 to encourage the end of violence towards girls and women in the world.
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