- Introduce yourself (Name, organization, and how long you have been involved in activism)
My name is Betty Sunday Ben Kute, I work for Community Empowerment For Progress Organization, (CEPO); and am the founder and the Coordinator of Women’s Monthly Forum (WMF). Now,I’ve been in activism for 10 years.
- Describe the work that you have been doing as a women rights activist/ defender in your country;
After the conflict started in South Sudan a lot of bad things happened to women and girls here in South Sudan. Women and girls live in fear, and as a mother, I have to fight for the rights of these poor women and girls. Not only for women and girls of this country but the rights of everyone whose rights are suppressed.
- What do you think are the three most important women’s rights issues in your country and why?
(a) Women’s Rights, (b) Asses to Justices (c) Women’s Empowerment. Why? In South Sudan with our bad cultures, women become victims all the time. Women will not be given chance in anything , because they “are just a woman”. For that reason, became a Human Rights Activist in my country so that I could fight for the rights of my fellow women.
- What kind of limitations have you faced in your activism in your country and beyond, within the East and Horn of Africa region?
For example when you talk about the lacking systems of proper and fair governance in place, and the fact that the state actors need to stop kiling people – in view of the fact that all forms of violence perpetrated against women, our activism is hindered in terms of where and how we work within the region.
- Do you feel like women rights are being treated as human rights? (If YES or NO, please provide reasons)
In South Sudan , No! Our government does not know anything about human rights, and for them what their know is whenever you see something bad in the country, you have to keep quiet. This is why women’s rights are not being treated as human rights.
- Do you believe that the space for women rights activists/defenders in civil society is shrinking? If yes, why?
Yes, because what they are doing looks bad in the eyes of the government.
- Do you feel protected in the work that you do? (If YES or NO, please provide reasons)
No, in my country there is no protection for human right activists.
- Over the tenure of your activism, do you feel like you have been rewarded or recognized for the work that you do? (If YES or NO, please provide reasons)
I may say Yes, I have been recognized because am advocating for the rights of women, girls, and boys. For example am talking about girls education, ending child marriage, job creation for youth in the country and future of this country. We need a good government which will take care of its own people, because all of us are South Sudanese. For this, I have been regonized, in my country, the region and even internationally.
- What do you envision is the landscape for women human rights defenders in the region?
- Protection for Family Human Right Defender should be put in place within the region
- There’s also a need for capacity building for these defenders.
- There’s need for training on Security issues or security for these human rights defenders.
- What keeps you motivated to keep doing this work?
What keeps me motivated is that in my country there is a lot to be done for the future of our people, especially, the young people, like girls, boys; and women who, in my country do not know, about their rights. We need to make sure that in 2030 all our girls are educated, promoting the prosperity of their community and a more sustainable economic and human development in the country.