Posts Tagged ‘nairobi kenya’

Home more dangerous for South Sudanese women than war

Posted: March 22, 2012 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Commentary
Tags: , ,

PaanLuel Wel.

South Sudan=Saudi Arabia

Reading this piece of article sounds like it is making Saudi Arabia out of South Sudan. Relatively speaking, it would remind one of how Sayyid Qutb, the Egyptian Islamist Philosopher behind the rise of Muslim Brotherhood, on his short visit to the USA, only saw and took away what, in his religious view, “is wrong with America.” While there was hardly any dispute about the factual accounts of Mr. Gutb, there was/is of course a great deal about his interpretations of what it was that he saw.

The same thing apply to Katy Migiro, the author of this article, which is a comment on the report by the SmallArmsGroup: her observations are interpreted from slanted view of her cultural background, just as Gutb saw and interpreted the American way of life from a Quranic perspective. To assert that “Home more dangerous for South Sudanese women than war” does not reflect the realities of life live by those women in South Sudan according to their own cultural understanding of life.

Take the issue of child marriage, for instance. The evilness of child marriage is a product of modernity. It was not until recently in the 20th century that Western Europeans and North Americans abandoned the practice that was until then a sacred norm. An account of palace intermarriages is full of young princesses married off as soon as they had reached puberty or even sometimes betrothed before puberty. And all these was done with the full blessings of the Heavenly fathers of the Church. Marriage was not a choice but a family arrangement!

To expect a traditional society as South Sudan to compete in the league of modern societies as Katy Migiro is trying to imply is a tall order that has no basis on how societal transitions from traditional way of life to modernity occur!

Of course, her piece will definitely make great impression on her peers within the LawTrust of Nairobi Kenya and may contribute to her eminence as an advocate of gender equality. But it remains what it is: Gutbian unwitting misrepresentation of the American way of life distorted by the lens of Islamic upbringing!

Home more dangerous for South Sudanese women than war

South Sudanese who fled the recent ethnic violence listen as a woman describes the attacks, in Gumuruk, Jonglei state, January 12, 2012. REUTERS/Hereward Holland

By Katy Migiro

NAIROBI (TrustLaw) – The greatest risk South Sudanese women face is in their own homes, despite the more obvious dangers posed by continued fighting, according to a new report by the Small Arms Survey.

South Sudan became independent last July following two decades of war with the Sudanese government in Khartoum. But nationhood has not brought peace, with over 325,000 people forced from their homes in 2011 due to a surge in fighting between the army and rebels and between rival ethnic groups, according to the U.N.

“The main threats to their security come not from traditional external sources, such as militia groups or armed conflict with Sudan, but from within their own homes,” the report said. “In the home, the place where they should feel most secure, women face numerous threats.”

Gender inequalities, rooted in culture, are often to blame, as well as chronic poverty and a lack of development.

Child marriage and domestic violence are socially accepted norms.

“I was 11 years old when I was promised in marriage,” said one 24-year-old interviewee, describing how she used to run and hide from her future husband when he came to visit as she only wore underwear at home.

“I didn’t want to marry him, but I didn’t have any choice. I had so many brothers who needed cattle [for marriage] and this man came with 30 cattle, so my father forced me to marry him.”

In South Sudan, as among many traditional pastoralist communities across Africa, the bride’s family receives a dowry, or bride price, from her husband’s family as a symbol of their appreciation for agreeing to the marriage. This is usually in the form of cattle.


Domestic violence is endemic in South Sudan, the report said.

The majority of women interviewed accepted domestic violence as a normal part of married life.

Two interviewees said their friend, who was four months pregnant, had been kicked in the stomach by her husband and admitted to hospital the previous day.

“Although they said she clearly hated and feared her husband, she was forced to return home with him,” the report said.

“Her friends explained: ‘Where else will she go? What will she do? She cannot divorce him; her family will not accept it.’”

Divorce is rare. Aside from the family pressure to remain married – as divorce would force the woman’s family to return the dowry cattle – mothers fear losing custody of their children.

Under customary law, children who have stopped breastfeeding should live with their father if their parents divorce. In some communities, they may stay with their mother up to the age of seven.

“The risk of losing their children forces many South Sudanese women to remain in abusive marriages,” the report said.


Statistically, the greatest threats to South Sudanese women’s survival are pregnancy and childbirth:

  • Maternal mortality rates are the highest in the world.
  • One in seven South Sudanese women will die in pregnancy or childbirth, often because of infections, haemorrhaging or obstructed births without access to medical care.

All of the women interviewed said they wanted to have as many children as possible. “There is no limit; if I can have 15 or 20, then I will,” one female interviewee said.

During the independence struggle, childbearing was encouraged as part of the war effort.

Married women are expected to have children every three years until menopause.


However, the majority of women interviewed perceived hungeras their biggest threat.

South Sudanese women eat whatever food is leftover after the men and children in the house have finished.

  • One in three South Sudanese are either moderately or severely food insecure, according to the U.N.
  • Prices of staple foods, such as maize and sorghum, jumped by 100 to 250 per cent between 2010 and 2011.
  • Hunger is expected to worsen in 2012, with the U.N. predicting a 40 to 60 per cent drop in cereal production.

The report draws on interviews and focus groups conducted in South Sudan in 2010 and 2011.

It calls for a more people-centred approach to security, rather than the traditional military notion of state security, to safeguard women’s lives in South Sudan.

Gabe Joselow | Nairobi, Kenya

South Sudanese express their support as President Salva Kiir declared a halt on all oil operations in South Sudan, in Juba, January 23, 2012.

Photo: Reuters
South Sudanese express their support as President Salva Kiir declared a halt on all oil operations in South Sudan, in Juba, January 23, 2012.

South Sudan is shutting down its oil production to protest against high fees Sudan charges to transport the commodity through northern pipelines. The move threatens both countries’ economies and is heightening tensions that have festered since the south declared independence in July.

The government of South Sudan says it already has cut oil output in the country by more than half and plans to continue reducing outflows unless Sudan meets its demands.

South Sudan had shut down most of its wells by the end of the day Tuesday in the north central parts of the country. The process is continuing in Upper Nile state in the east, home to the bulk of the country’s oil fields.

Continuing conflict

The shutoff is the latest development of an ongoing dispute between the two Sudans on how to share oil revenues following their split last year.

South Sudan claims the north has confiscated $815 million in oil from the south. Khartoum says it took the oil to compensate for lost revenues.

Sudan also is charging the south transit fees as high as $36 per barrel – far above the industry standard – which is closer to $1 per barrel.

South Sudan’s Petroleum and Mining Minister Stephen Dhieu Dau says that Khartoum’s terms are unacceptable.

“We also have been paying the operation costs for the pipeline and marine terminal and covering all these facilities. But Khartoum, unfortunately, is imposing punitive fees, discriminatory fees, against South Sudan as a penalty for the secession,” said Dau.

Heavy reliance on oil money

More than 90 percent of South Sudan’s revenues are derived from oil exports. The country, at its creation, inherited three-quarters of the known oil reserves in the former united Sudan. The separation is said to have cost Khartoum more than $7 billion in lost revenue.

While South Sudan produces the bulk of the crude oil, though, it has no refining capacity, and relies on northern pipelines to export.

The move to shutdown the pipelines will cost both countries economically, but Dau said the south has considered the alternatives.

“You will come to one answer. Either you produce, you get zero – or you shut down, you get zero and Khartoum gets zero,” said Dau.

AU summit negotiations

The leaders of the two Sudans are expected to meet on the sidelines of the African Union summit in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. An AU panel that has been mediating the negotiations submitted a new draft proposal this week to resolve the dispute.

Dana Wilkins, a campaigner at Global Witness, a natural resources monitoring group, said the south has a lot to lose if its gambit does not work.

“South Sudan in particular is going to feel the hit on revenues pretty quickly. It’s not clear just how much they have in savings, but what is clear is that they’re going to have to rely heavily on the international community for financial support over the coming year if this shutdown happens in full and the negotiations don’t come to at least an interim arrangement,” said Wilkins.

South Sudan is exploring alternative transit routes for its oil. The government announced this week it has struck a deal with Kenya for a new pipeline stretching to the town of Lamu on the Indian Ocean. But it was not clear when the pipeline may be started or finished.

South Sudan to halt oil production over dispute with Sudan
By ALAN BOSWELL NAIROBI, Kenya — South Sudan moved Friday to shut down its oil production, the latest development in an epic game of double-dare that threatens not only South Sudan’seconomy but also that of its neighbor and antagonist, Sudan, 

South Sudan: Death Toll Rises to 83 in Duk County of Jonglei
Juba — A new report from the ground confirms that the death toll has increased to 83 people in Duk Padiet payam of Duk County in Jonglei State after the attack by alleged Murle armed youth and deserted military persons on Monday. 

South Sudan Ethnic Violence Pushes 120000 In Need Of Aid, UN Says
Huffington Post
MICHAEL ONYIEGO 01/20/12 12:41 PM ET AP JUBA, South Sudan — More than 120000 people need humanitarian aid because of a wave of ethnic clashes in a remote and volatile region of South Sudan, the United Nations said Friday, underscoring the challenges ..

South Sudan plans to shut oil production within 2 weeks
Chicago Tribune
JUBA (Reuters) – South Sudan said on Friday it was working out a plan to shut down oil production within two weeks after Sudan said it had started seizing southern oil to compensate for what it said were unpaid transit fees. South Sudan seceded last 

UN says 120000 in South Sudan need aid after fighting
JUBA (Reuters) – Tribal fighting in South Sudan has left 120000 people in need of emergency food aid, twice the previous estimate, the United Nations said on Friday. The organization was in a race against time to reach people displaced by fighting 

South Sudan: UN refugee chief seeks massive humanitarian support
Afrique en Ligue
Nairobi, Kenya – UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres has called on the international community to provide ‘massive’ humanitarian support for South Sudan, which faces major forced displacement crises. Without such help, Guterres warned 

South Sudan threatens to sue dealers in its “stolen” oil
Sudan Tribune
By Ngor Arol Garang January 10, 2012 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s oil minister said Tuesday that north Sudan was siphoning off his country’s oil, threatening to instigate legal proceedings against any country or company involved in buying the allegedly 

DFA wants Pinoys out of Sudan ASAP
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) wants to bring Filipinos out of South Sudan before the situation worsens. “This early, we would like to get the people out of harms way. We don’t want to wait until it’s difficult for them 

UN to start expensive emergency operation in South Sudan
Kuwait News Agency
This emergency operation is going to be one of the most complex and expensive in South Sudansince the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed in 2005, siad OCHA in a press briefing. With the exception of Boma, in southeastern Jonglei, 

Top South Sudanese Pupil In Kenya Needs Financial Help
Oye! Times
His victory took the country and his school Uthiru Genesis Day and Boarding school in particular to the surprise of sheer determination from an impoverished South Sudanese boy who lived at Kakuma refugee camp in northern Kenya after fleeing his home in 

South Sudan: UN Security Council tasks South Sudan on ethnic reconciliation
Afrique en Ligue
New York, US – UN Security Council on Tuesday called on warring ethnic communities in South Sudan’s Jonglei state to engage in reconciliation and end the ‘cycle of conflict’ that has claimed some many lives in recent weeks. In a statement, signed by 

Ukraine recognizes South Sudan as independent state
Kyiv Post
The independence of South Sudan was proclaimed on July 9, 2011. Salva Kiir Mayardit was sworn in as the first president of South Sudan. The country has already been recognized by the United States, China, France, Britain and Libya. 

South Sudan says Sudan blocking its oil exports
By Hereward Holland | JUBA Jan 11 (Reuters) – South Sudan has accused the Sudanese government of blocking 3.4 million barrels of its crude oil exports, diverting over half a million barrels to its refineries and building a pipeline to keep diverting 

US Announces South Sudan Eligibility for Defense Services
MarketWatch (press release)
11, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — The following is being released by the Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan: On January 6, 2012 the Obama Administration announced a determination on the eligibility of South Sudan to receive what it has been called 

The South Sudanese
A look people of Africa’s newest nation, South Sudan. Tweet this Link this Share this Digg this Email Reprints Comments (0) This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

At UN, Sudan Says JEM’s Gone South from Libya, Bashir’s Tripoli Trip Not Raised
Inner City Press
By Matthew Russell Lee UNITED NATIONS, January 11 — With Darfur the topic in the Security Council on Wednesday morning, some were surprised that Sudan’s newly independent neighbor South Sudan spoke in the open meeting. Later it made sense: Sudan’s 


NAIROBI, Kenya — Threats of genocide and ethnically charged rhetoric are roiling South Sudan’s Jonglei state one week after a days-long rampage by a tribal militia forced 50,000 people from their homes and may have left thousands dead.

The commissioner of Pibor County, where most of the bloodshed took place, said that 3,141 people were killed, according to an initial assessment of the attack. But officials from the United Nations and the South Sudanese government cautioned that the number was unconfirmed and may be inflated.

Uncertainty also surrounded whether more bloodshed is in the offing. One militia spokesman vowed that a Rwandan-style genocide is on the way, but others said the spokesman represented only one faction of the militia, which is described as either a well-organized force meticulously executing central commands or simply a throng of cattle-herders bent on quick revenge and booty.

Confusion and finger-pointing are a regular part of South Sudan’s so-far brief stint at statehood — the country became independent from Sudan in July — but the latest crisis has left the nation struggling to come up with answers or solutions.

The rampage began before Christmas when thousands of members of the Lou Nuer tribe began a scorched-earth march through Jonglei aimed at members of the rival Murle tribe. At least three villages were burned to the ground as U.N. peacekeepers, badly outnumbered and monitoring the militia’s progress from helicopters, urged Murle to flee their homes.

The rampage came to an end last Tuesday on the outskirts of Pibor, after a Nuer foray into the city found little to steal and almost no one to kidnap. Four hundred U.N. peacekeepers and about 800 South Sudanese government troops were holed up in Pibor.

How many people died in the Nuer rampage is the most glaring uncertainty. Joshua Konyi, a Murle who is the commissioner of Pibor County, said a compilation of totals given by the area’s local administrators yielded the estimate that 3,141 people had died in the attack, most of them in rural areas out of sight of U.N. peacekeepers and government troops garrisoned in nearby administrative towns.

The steep figure has met heavy skepticism. Kuol Manyang, the state governor, said the numbers came too quickly and were meant “to win sympathy.” The United Nations, which initially estimated the number of dead at the “tens or hundreds,” said Sunday that there was no evidence to back up the claims of more than 3,000 dead.

But neither the government nor the U.N. has offered an alternative figure for the number of dead in a campaign that covered 70 miles in one of South Sudan’s most remote regions. The government is sending a commission to investigate the casualty count, said South Sudan army spokesman Philip Aguer.

After seeing their homeland destroyed, some Murle were incredulous that the local count was met with suspicion and accused the U.N. of acting on the defensive after its peacekeepers failed to stop the violence.

“The UNMISS military wing did nothing to protect civilians,” said John Boloch, a Murle leader who heads South Sudan’s Peace and Reconciliation Commission in Juba, referring to the United Nations peacekeeping mission in South Sudan by its acronym. “The number given (3,141) is true.”

“Right now all the numbers are suspect, but it’s probably best to start with the numbers being generated by local officials and then work to verify them,” said Judy McCallum, a former country director of an aid organization in South Sudan who does research on the Murle.

Those who did survive did so only by fleeing. The attackers did not appear to be in a mindset of mercy.

Online forums and private conversations are filled with vitriol aimed at the Murle, a small, politically marginalized group that numbers between 100,000 and 150,000 and is neighbored by both the Dinka and the Lou Nuer, South Sudan’s two dominant tribes.

During the long civil war in which South Sudan won its independence from Sudan, the Murle were seen as traitors. They’re accused regularly of abducting their neighbors’ children, a practice not uncommon across South Sudan.

One Nuer tribal member who has lived in the United States and claims to speak for the “Nuer White Army” said in email messages that the goal of the rampage was to wipe out the Murle. He promised more to come.

“The next attack against Murle will be worse than what happened in Rwanda in 1994,” the spokesman, Tut Deang, emailed in reply to a series of written questions. “If committing ‘genocide’ will bring us peace, so be it.”

He said that future raids will be launched under the cover of night to prevent detection by U.N. surveillance helicopters.

“We are fighting for survival in this part of the world and the so-called Western concepts of ‘responsibility to protect’ are crap,” wrote Deang, whose email account uses the words “Nuer power.”

Deang’s claim to speak for the militia, which U.N. officials say numbers around 8,000 men, could not be verified. In mid-December, a press release indicated Deang lived in Minnesota, but now he claims to have moved back to South Sudan. But he did not provide a local contact number, and numerous email exchanges and news releases took place during regular working hours in the United States.

The Lou Nuer area’s county commissioner, Goi Jooyol, questioned Deang’s legitimacy, accusing radical Nuer who live outside South Sudan of hijacking the tribal war for their own political agendas.

“These groups sending these emails are just groups acting on their own behalves,” Jooyol said by phone. “The people carrying out our attacks are simple people. Most are illiterate and are just trying to avenge the attack on their families, and maybe steal some cows.”

Whether official or not, Deang’s views are not unique. South Sudanese admit the sentiments are common, even among politicians and the educated. South Sudan’s history is also not encouraging: although best known for the oppression it suffered at the hands of Arabic Sudanese authorities to the north, the long civil war was filled with numerous atrocities South Sudanese committed against one another.

And don’t ask Deang to help settle the casualty debate.

“It is not our duty to count the number of Murle killed. The duty is to end the Murle problem,” he wrote menacingly.

(Boswell is a McClatchy correspondent. His reporting is supported in part by a grant from Humanity United, a California-based foundation that focuses on human rights issues.)