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Aweil East state new constitution restricts marriageable age

June 10, 2016 (JUBA) - Members of parliament in the newly created Aweil East state, one of the controversial proposed 28 states in South Sudan, have approved a new constitution that restricts marriageable age in the state.

People displaced in Northern Bahr El Ghazal state by alleged SAF bombings in 2012 (Office of the Aweil North county commissioner/File)

This came after a committee tasked with reviewing the previous constitution of Northern Bahr el Ghazal state from which the new Aweil East state was curved out, agreed to insert a provision in the new constitution to regulate marriageable age.

In the new constitution, the committee suggested that the “full age means the age of 20 years and above” and specifies that “any woman who is married shall be deemed to be of full age.”

Daniel Akol Diing, former parliamentary affairs minister, told Sudan Tribune on Wednesday that the parliament had unanimously passed the new constitution after conducting public hearings to gather the views of the people on what should be marriageable age for ladies and young men in the state.

“The members have passed the new constitution. There are two important provisions. One is the provision which restricts the marriageable age for ladies to 20 years and 25 years for gents,” said Diing.

“Another important provision is the one that talks about age at which a person should have reached to be a member of parliament. This particular provision applies to the male. For anyone aspiring to be a member of parliament, the person must have reached 25 years to qualify,” he explained.

Aweil East is one of the new states created through a unilateral and controversial presidential establishment order in which president Salva Kiir in October 2015 dissolved the state governments and increased the number of states to 28 from 10.

Opposition factions and international partners said this was in violation of August 2015 peace agreement which President Kiir signed with armed opposition and other stakeholders to end more than two years conflict.

The peace deal was signed on the basis of the ten states.