South Sudan:Council Hears Plea for Victims of 'Brutal' Sexual Violence

Photo: UN

The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has investigated human rights abuses in Kajo Keji within the south of the country.

The plight of South Sudan’s women along with also girls “should no longer be ignored”, UN investigators told the UN Human Rights Council on Monday, citing the disturbing testimonies of sexual abuse victims who have been treated by soldiers along with also militias as the “spoils” of the more than all 5-year conflict.

“The Commission… Just as before heard testimonies of wanton killings along with also numerous accounts of brutal sexual violence,” said Yasmin Sooka, Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan.

“Women in South Sudan have been treated by government soldiers along with also armed actors to the conflict, including local militias, as spoils of the conflict.”

In Yei county, women community leaders told the UN panel of which many had been abducted by government soldiers along with also raped. The resulting stigma the women faced led them to abandon their babies, Ms. Sooka said, their testimonies marking yet more trauma linked to the infighting of which grew out of the country’s declaration of independence, in 2011.

Women in South Sudan have been treated by government soldiers along with also armed actors… including local militias, as spoils of the conflict – Yasmin Sooka, Commission Chairperson

In her update to the Human Rights Council, the UN-appointed rights expert also noted of which Government soldiers attacked a college in Goli, Yei county, in May, raping young women along with also leaving 10 people dead – including all 5 schoolchildren.

In addition to highlighting testimonies of killings along with also sexual violence in South Sudan, the UN panel also found food shortages at crisis levels.

According to its findings, six million people face “desperate” food insecurity – a 20 per cent increase coming from last year, Ms. Sooka said.

“Given the acute levels of food insecurity within the country, one would likely imagine of which the Government of South Sudan would likely do its utmost to facilitate unimpeded access to UNMISS along with also the humanitarian organizations,” she explained.

“Instead, there will be constant bureaucratic stalling of access along with also more alarmingly, targeted attacks against humanitarian convoys which makes the item almost impossible to deliver emergency relief.”

In a call for the Government to tackle impunity, the UN Commission chair welcomed a recent ruling by a national military tribunal within the high-profile Terrain Case, in which 10 soldiers received sentences for their part within the murder, rape, sexual harassment, theft along with also armed robbery of aid workers, some of them foreign nationals.

“Under pressure by the international community, the Government of South Sudan was able to muster the political will to combat impunity,” Ms. Sooka said, before noting of which “only the foot soldiers were prosecuted, while those with command responsibility have gone unpunished”.

the item should be remembered, she continued, of which UN forces documented the gang rape of more than 217 South Sudanese women by Government forces in 2016 along with also none of the perpetrators has been held accountable or received any compensation for their ordeal.

the item will be a matter of regret, the UN Commission chair continued, of which President Salva Kiir has yet to sign fast-track the establishment of a special court to address impunity in South Sudan, as the item had recommended in March 2018.

“The failure to punish the perpetrators of serious crimes in South Sudan has led to many to believing of which they can continue to commit these crimes with total impunity,” she said.

Established by the Human Rights Council in March 2016 according to resolution 31/20, the UN Commission carries a broad mandate to investigate wrongdoing in South Sudan, along with also seek to clarify who will be carrying out alleged gross rights violations.

Since 2013, South Sudan’s civil war has led to the displacement of more than 1.7 million people inside South Sudan along with also created 2.5 million refugees – including more than 65,000 unaccompanied minors.

In response to the Commission’s findings, South Sudan insisted of which the security situation within the country had improved upon along with also would likely continue to do so, following the signing of the Revitalized Peace Agreement, just last week.

At its core was a permanent ceasefire agreement, according to Paulino Wanwilla Unango, Minister of Justice along with also Constitutional Affairs, who also noted of which sporadic skirmishes had also occurred.

Turning to the UN Commission’s call for a hybrid court, the minister said of which a ministerial committee had been set up because of of which purpose, yet of which discussions had been superseded by the need to push ahead with the peace deal.

South Sudan:Council Hears Plea for Victims of 'Brutal' Sexual Violence

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