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South Sudan: You Can Divorce A Partner If They Have HIV

In Jonglei State of south Sudan, you can file for divorce if your partner has contracted HIV as provided for in the new customary Laws.

“Divorce is allowed if the woman denies her husband conjugal right for one year or if either of the spouse is infertile or has infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS that poses danger to another spouse life,” Dut Acuek Lual local government minister says.

He says the new customary law was discussed under Article 3.2 of the penal code of South Sudan 2009 to address rampant cases of divorce among natives of Jonglei.

According to recent reports, the Jonglei State Government is concerned by the growing cases of family breakups which have prompted the state authorities to legislate restrictive family laws.

Since the conflict in South Sudan started in 2013, more than million people have been internally displaced

For example, citizens from Jonglei state can only divorce before the courts within this state. It is illegal for south Sudanese from this state living out of the country to divorce.

Dut Acuek Lual said any case of marriage termination between two couples of Jonglei elsewhere; it would be referred to the administration in Boma and payam.

“If you want to divorce your husband or wife please go to your respective Payam or Boma. It will not be allowed in any courts either in Bor, Juba or Diaspora,” Lual said.

The Minister Lual said divorce was acceptable under some conditions specified under the customary Laws of the Dinka Community.

He said in Dinka community divorce was only inevitable when one of the spouses exhibits gross misconduct which is proven beyond reasonable doubt by close relatives and leaders of the clans.

“If the wife commits adultery with either relatives of the husband or with someone else outside the family,” he explained.

Traditional leaders welcomed the move saying that it was a liable way to control divorce since it was common among Jonglei citizens in diaspora and at home.

“This will really rescue our people because there are several registered cases of rampant divorce in places like Camps, USA and Australia by natives from Jonglei State,” they said.

“If they want to divorce then we only want them to come back home and divorce in presence of their parents in Jonglei State,” said Aluong a traditional Chief.

Bor town Intellectual Majak Dau stressed the need for the state Ministry of Local Government and Law Enforcement to implement the order saying that the natives were so spoiled by adopted western cultures.

“This generation is spoiled by western cultures. So it is a good idea that the ministry in collaboration with traditional courts have come up with that order so we also need them to implement and disseminate this information to the diaspora,” he said.

South Sudan is composed of 32 states created out of the three historic former provinces (and contemporary regions) of Bahr el Ghazal (northwest), Equatoria (southern), and Greater Upper Nile (northeast). The 32 states are further divided into 180 counties.

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