The Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA) Network is strongly concerned about the safety of one of its most active members, and former member of the Board of SIHA, Ms Karak Mayik Nyok.
Ms Nyok has been working with women in South Sudan since early 2000. She relocated herself to Lake State, Rumbek in 2005, where she substantially contributed to the promotion of women rights and the advancement of their living condition. As of early 2011 she has been experiencing severe harassment and was threatened many times by some of the high commander officers of the army in Rumbek. More than once, she was asked for money and goods and most recently, a high commanding officer demanded that she hand over her organisation's office vehicle. When she refused to give the vehicle, since it is the property of the organization and she does not want to be forced to act dishonestly, Karak Nyok was threatened more than once inside her office compound that she will be ambushed if she does not hand in the vehicle. Ms Karak Nyok now strongly fears for her safety.
Karak immediately reported the sequence of incidents to the local authorities. However, Ms Nyok believes that there is little probability serious take actions will be taken, as she said, “often women are not taken seriously when reporting threats”.
SIHA is appealing to the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) to act against these forms of intimidation and threats against women human rights defenders and activists and to support and promote their work and value their contribution. On behalf of women activists we call on GoSS to end impunity and enforce the rule of law upon its people. The international community and human rights organizations should speak out against the violations of the rights of women activists.
About SIHA: The Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa –SIHA is a network of civil society organizations from North and South Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, Somaliland and Uganda and is now comprised of over 40 member organizations. SIHA is advocating for social change and gender equality for men and women in the Horn of Africa and working specifically on: gender equality, eliminating violence against women and girls, promoting human rights, peace building and conflict transformation, enhancing women’s leadership and political participation and production and dissemination of knowledge.