Women’s Rights in Jeopardy: The Case of War-Torn South Sudan

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This study asserts that women’s rights are far from being recognized in South Sudan despite its efforts to include the rights of women in the Transitional Constitution after its attainment of independence from Sudan in 2011. While the article acknowledges the traditional modernization theory and cultural sovereignty theory, it engages international human rights standards as its conceptual framework. Using documentary research methodology involving analysis of primary and secondary sources, the manuscript established that a plural justice system involving incompatible customary and civil law failed to defend women’s rights in the country. This was worsened by the country’s descent into a civil war a few years after independence. Again, the fact that South Sudan has effectively been without a functioning permanent constitution and is one of the main challenges facing the country did not help the situation either. However, South Sudan still has opportunities to advance the promotion of women’s rights if, among other things, the ongoing civil war ends and the guidelines of its Transitional Constitution are to be effectively enshrined in a new constitution of the country with a view of implementing them.

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Mediel Hove

Senior Lecturer, History Department, University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe. Research Associate, International Centre of Nonviolence, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa.

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