Challenges to Security, Livelihoods, and Gender Justice in South Sudan: The situation of Dinka agro-pastoralist communities in Lakes and Warrap States | South Sudan | Oxfam

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In South Sudan, widespread euphoria following independence in July 2011 has given way to disappointment that expected peace dividends have not materialised. Many South Sudanese are experiencing insecurity, a lack of access to basic services, and increasing inequalities. Pastoralist and agro-pastoralist communities in remote border areas are particularly affected by insecurity and by a lack of social services, and women are particularly marginalised. This report is the result of Oxfam research to enable the needs and views of conflict-affected communities to be voiced, heard, and addressed, particularly in relation to security and livelihoods and with an emphasis on women
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  OXFAM RESEARCH REPORTS MARCH 2013 Oxfam Research Reports  are written to share research results, to contribute to public debate and to invite feedback on development and humanitarian policy and practice. They do not necessarily reflect Oxfam policy positions. The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of Oxfam.  www.oxfam.org   CHALLENGES TO SECURITY, LIVELIHOODS, AND GENDER JUSTICE IN SOUTH SUDAN   The situation of Dinka agro-pastoralist communities in Lakes and Warrap States   INGRID KIRCHER Senior Researcher, Intermón Oxfam and Oxfam GB In South Sudan, widespread euphoria following independence in July 2011 has given way to disappointment that expected peace dividends have not materialised. Many South Sudanese are experiencing insecurity, a lack of access to basic services, and increasing inequalities. Pastoralist and agro-pastoralist communities in remote border areas are particularly affected by insecurity and by a lack of social services, and women are particularly marginalised. This report is the result of Oxfam research to enable the needs and views of conflict-affected communities, in relation to security and livelihoods, to be voiced, heard, and addressed. It focuses on the security concerns expressed by the communities themselves: conflict within and between communities, cattle raiding, and violence against women.  2 Challenges to Security, Llivelihoods, and Gender Justice in South Sudan CONTENTS Executive summary ......................................................................... 3   1 Introduction ................................................................................... 7   2 Security: internal conflicts and lack of access to services ........... 10   3 Challenges to pastoralist livelihoods ........................................... 17   4 Gender (in)justice ....................................................................... 23   Conclusions and recommendations ............................................... 31    Annex ............................................................................................ 43    Acknowledgements ....................................................................... 42    Challenges to Security, Llivelihoods, and Gender Justice in South Sudan 3 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The objective of this report is to provide foundational research for a planned policy paper for the Oxfam Rights in Crisis (RiC) campaign „African Conflicts –  Safety, Livelihoods, and Gender Justice‟. The report is based on a review of relevant literature, field research conducted at Oxfam project sites in two states of South Sudan, Lakes (Oxfam Great Britain) and Warrap (Intermón Oxfam), and interviews with key informants. Its focus is on pastoralist and agro-pastoralist communities in remote border areas, as they are among the groups most affected by conflict and the most marginalised, and their voices are often not heard. The dominant ethnic group in the research areas are the Dinka, which is why this report focuses on Dinka culture. In South Sudan, widespread euphoria following independence in July 2011 has given way to disappointment that expected peace dividends have not materialised. Many South Sudanese, including those living at Oxfam project sites in Lakes and Warrap states, are experiencing insecurity, a lack of access to basic services, and increasing inequalities. In the highly patriarchal society of South Sudan, women are particularly disadvantaged. Women are seen as inferior to men, and stark inequalities between women and men persist. Women have little decision-making power or control over assets. Violence against women is widespread, and possibilities to seek and obtain redress are very limited. Polygamy, which is legal and common in South Sudan, constitutes an impediment to women‟ s equality. Early and forced marriages are frequent, with severe consequences for the girls concerned. They are taken out of school, have to move in with their husband‟s family and carry out domestic chores , and face serious health risks related to early pregnancies. Inter- and intra-communal conflicts are frequent in South Sudan, with cattle raiding being an important part of the conflicts. It is of particular concern that conflicts have become more intense in recent years, with civilians increasingly being targeted, villages deliberately attacked, and livelihoods destroyed. The causes of conflict are complex, including historical tensions and a tendency to resolve these through violent means, the proliferation of arms, increasing competition for access to grazing land and water, extreme poverty and uneven distribution of wealth, declining influence of traditional authorities, weak state institutions, a culture of impunity, heightened demand and competition for land and appropriation of large tracts of land for agricultural expansion, inflation in the „ bride price ‟,  and concepts of masculinity. In the course of the research, a number of interviewees expressed scepticism about current peace initiatives. They noted that while there had been a proliferation of peace conferences, many were one-off events with little prior analysis or subsequent follow-up, and involving mainly people from the capital, Juba. They stressed that peace building was a long and complex process, comprising community consultations involving those directly concerned and specific projects to address the causes of conflict. With regard to human security, the remote communities where Oxfam works lack access to basic services. The main concerns of the villagers include lack of access to water, health care (both human and animal health), and education. Many villagers experience a sense of isolation, as a number of villages are cut off during the rainy season. The absence of government officials in some areas increases the feeling of neglect and marginalisation. It has to be recognised that the challenges facing the Government of the Republic of South Sudan (GoSS) are daunting, as basically the country needs to be built from scratch after  4 Challenges to Security, Llivelihoods, and Gender Justice in South Sudan decades of war. However, the GoSS has been criticised for lacking a comprehensive policy to combat violence, for not prioritising the provision of basic services, and for corruption. Although the international community has been very engaged in South Sudan, assistance tends to be fragmented and is not based on in-depth analysis that takes the larger picture into account. The large majority of South Sudan‟s population are  pastoralists or agro-pastoralists, engaged in livestock keeping and subsistence agriculture. Outside the livestock and agricultural sectors, and public administration, there are few job opportunities. Cattle are central in the lives of the Dinka as well as of many other ethnic groups in South Sudan, not only as a source of livelihood but also in terms of cultural identity and social status. Herd mobility over vast areas of land and the ability to access grazing areas and water sources are vital for pastoralist livelihoods. However, pastoralist mobility has increasingly been limited by conflict and land fragmentation due to large-scale agricultural expansion. In general, the GoSS has neglected pastoralist needs and has focused on promoting agricultural expansion at the expense of livestock production. Donors, UN agencies, and INGOs, including Oxfam, have also moved away from support for pastoralists over recent years. It is important to refocus attention on pastoralist livelihoods, both at programme and at policy level. There is a need for research on the potential of livestock for the national economy and on cattle camp dynamics, as well as for concrete measures to strengthen pastoralist resilience.  Although South Sudan has vast potential for agricultural production, it is not exploited and the country remains dependent on oil. Fifty-one per cent of the population live below the poverty line, with poverty being highest in rural areas and among female-headed households. In recent years food insecurity has increased, a trend which is expected to continue in 2013. Many of the villagers interviewed for this report were concerned that they would go hungry during the dry season (December   –  April), saying that they were already resorting to eating wild fruit. Marriage in South Sudan is not understood as an arrangement between two individuals but rather is a social institution involving whole families, which ties together separate kinship groups and usually entails the payment of a bride price, in the form of cattle. Bride prices have increased and can constitute an important source of income for some families. This means that pressure can be very strong on girls and young women to marry a suitor who is able to pay many cows and/or to get married early. Young women usually have little say as the decision rests with the father. The need for bride payments can put young men under pressure to accumulate wealth and is one factor contributing to cattle raiding. However, a number of people, both in focus groups and in individual interviews, emphasised that poverty and unequal access to resources were more important factors for raiding. While there is a dearth of solid data and little research about the prevalence of gender-based violence (GBV), different reports and several of the interviewees suggested that such violence is endemic. Discussions in the different communities revealed that abuse and beatings were common. Many men felt that, since they had paid many cows, their wives were their property and could be disciplined. Many women, on the other hand, seemed to resign themselves to the fact that domestic violence was part of married life. Women are disadvantaged in both customary and statutory systems of justice, and perpetrators of GBV are rarely brought to  justice. Impunity not only discourages women to seek redress but also sends a signal that such GBV is acceptable. The report concludes with recommendations for Oxfam programmes and advocacy, including the following: ã  As a minimum, all Oxfam programmes should adher  e to the „ safe programming ‟  approach. ã  Where appropriate, specific protection and advocacy activities should be incorporated into programmes to enhance their impact.
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