Meet Young Boniface from South Sudan.
Young is an advocate of the High Court of South Sudan and a co-founder of the Center for Health Law and Living Rights Development, South Sudan. Young’s focus is on upholding human rights through Public Interest Litigation, particularly health-related human rights. His practice revolves around defending the vulnerable, underserved, and marginalized communities who face discrimination and/or injustice especially as related to accessing basic health care services and other fundamental human rights.
Young is currently hosted by the South Sudan Law Society for his practicum. Here, Young has found himself amongst like-minded lawyers who are readily available to offer guidance and support as needed. For his project, Young seeks to promote access to education for pregnant school girls and lactating mothers in primary and secondary schools. South Sudan allows pregnant school girls and lactating mothers to continue their education without any form of discrimination as per Section 26 (3) of the Child Act, Act №10 of 2008. Despite the protection offered by the law on the rights of these pregnant school girls and lactating mothers, they still face challenges while accessing schools, leading to high rates of school drop-outs. In Young’s view this is brought about by an absence of regulations and standards or guidelines for schools to follow so as to accommodate pregnant school girls and lactating mothers. Young therefore intends to file a case seeking a declaration that the omission by the Ministry of Education to issue policy guidelines (for the continuation of school by pregnant school girls and return to school of lactating mothers) violates their right to education and contravenes Article 29 (1) of the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan on the right to education without discrimination. Young hopes that the outcome of the case will lead to creation of the said policy guidelines by the Ministry of Education.
In the long term, Young hopes that this project will contribute to a reduced drop-out rate by pregnant school girls and lactating mothers in South Sudan. He hopes that the advocacy work leading up to the case will help parents, school administrations and the general public get a better understanding of the right to access education for all, including pregnant school girls and lactating mothers.
“Those at the top of the mountain didn’t fall there” — Vince Lombardi.
Hustle and Hard work are not unfamiliar words in Young’s vocabulary. We wish him the best of luck as he climbs and moves (PIL) mountains.