By Ijoo Bosco
May 3, 2014 (TORIT) – A women’s coalition in South Sudan’s Eastern Equatoria state has expressed concerns over deteriorating sanitary conditions in the state prison in Torit.
- Members of a women’s coalition visit Eastern Equatoria state’s Torit state prison to meet with female inmates (ST)
The coalition claims the government continues to turn a blind eye to conditions inside the prison, saying it had only provided enough funds for the removal of sewage at the site on one occasion.
The organisation recently visited the prison after learning of the conditions and to listen to the challenges facing female inmates.
Dina Disan, a representative of the women’s coalition, said they were particularly alarmed by the sewage system inside the prison, which serves both male and female inmates.
Disan said the sewage system was at capacity and needed to be drained immediately as it was polluting inmates’ accommodation and causing a bad odour, making it difficult for them to sleep.
She said female inmates had asked for a helping hand to address essential sanitary needs in the prison, adding added that the coalition would work with the state administration to help address the issue in coming days and improve the prison environment for inmates.
Prison authorities declined to comment to the media, but acknowledged that more needed to be done to improve sanitation facilities.
- Members of a women’s coalition are shown the sewage system inside Torit state prison; o,n May 5, 2014 (ST)
One prison officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said authorities regularly struggled to address sanitation conditions at the prison, saying they received limited funding from the state government.
Female inmates have called on the state government to address urgent sanitary needs inside the prison, as well as provide mosquito nets and sandals.
Coalition member Mary Oduho said many women and their children were unable to sleep at night due to mosquitoes, calling on prison authorities to fit nets inside rooms.
Lucy Iliha said members of the coalition had distributed gift items requested by the women, including soap and washing powder.
She said women at the prison were in generally good health, reminding female inmates to desist from alcohol once they are released as it is usually a factor in their imprisonment.