UN investigates systematic sexual violence across South Sudan

OCHA/Jacob Zocherman Mother and daughter in Unity State, South Sudan.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

Widespread and systematic sexual violence across South Sudan, just a few months after the country’s top two politicians signed a renewed commitment to peace, was at the top of the UN Commission on Human Rights in the country’s agenda on Friday, as members ended their first fact-finding mission.

The three-person team investigating rights violations in the world’s youngest country, which has been mired in bloody civil conflict since 2013, arrived on the ground shortly after more than 150 women and girls were reportedly sexually assaulted in the northern town of Bentiu.

“The viciousness of these horrific attacks in Bentiu on so many women, is shocking, given that these atrocious acts occurred just as people’s hopes for an end to violence are starting to surface following the peace deal,” Commissioner from Uganda, Barney Afako, stated. He added that “accountability must now follow.”

The Commission is investigating these violations and will report its findings to the Human Rights Council in March. Government officials also said they were investigating the Bentiu attacks, saying they would share and corroborate their findings with the Commission.

More than 65 per cent of women and girls in South Sudan have reportedly experienced sexual violence at least once in their lives. Given the endemic impunity to the widespread and systematic use of sexual violence by the country’s warring parties, accountability has been a core element of the Commission’s work.

Commissioners stated their hope that South Sudan’s leaders can now seize the opportunity provided by the Revitalized Peace Agreement for Resolution of the Conflict, signed on 12 September, to stem the violence, ensure accountability, restore peace and assist the countless victims to rebuild their lives.

Since it was formed in March 2016, the Human Rights Council-mandated Commission’s has been six times to the region.

So far this month, Commissioners have visited South Sudan, Sudan and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  From 15 to 19 December, Mr. Afako will travel to refugee camps in Uganda where some 785,000 South Sudanese are settled.

Among other things, this visit aims to look first-hand at how the June Peace Agreement, brokered by the regional development body (IGAD) with the support of the UN and African Union (AU), was taking hold, particularly focussing on the conflict’s countless victims.

Supported by a team of investigators and researchers based in Juba, they are also gauging how the more than four million South Sudanese displaced by the brutal war can be returned and recompensed.

“Everybody we spoke with during our visit expressed hope that the agreement will lead to durable and sustainable peace,” observed Commission Chair, Yasmin Sooka, who hails from South Africa. “Most South Sudanese are desperate to return to normal life and put the conflict behind them once and for all, yet they want to ensure that the conditions are right so they can live free of fear and want.”

During meetings with the Government, the Commission also raised the need to improve the status of women in in the country, citing the case of a South Sudanese girl whose virginity was publicly auctioned off to the highest bidder, reportedly including a post on the Facebook platform.

“A holistic transitional justice programme will provide South Sudan a vital opportunity to address the status of women,” maintained Ms. Sooka.

In line with their mandate, the Commission is also collecting and preserving evidence to combat impunity, and, as such, is assisting with a future Hybrid Court, as laid out in Chapter Five of the Peace Agreement.

“Many of those we spoke with stressed that establishing the Hybrid Court, together with the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing, and the C­ompensation and Reparation Authority, could help contribute to stabilizing the country,” Commissioner, from the UK, Andrew Clapham said.  “This would certainly send a strong signal to those who have suffered violations in connection with the conflict.”

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

UN rights chief ‘appalled’ by US border detention conditions, says holding migrant children may violate international law

Long-term EU budget: MEPs lay down funding priorities for post-2020 budget

UN rights chief calls for international inquiry into Kashmir violations

EU-US trade agreement talks to be affected by American bugs

Dreaming of China

Keeping cool in the face of climate change

Here are 4 ways investors can influence more secure and responsible innovation

These are the best cities for tech

Across the world, women outlive men. This is why

‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ clean-up project launches trial run: UN Environment

Central banking in times of complexity

Are Halloween pumpkins a problem for the planet?

Is continuous sanctioning the way to resolve the Ukrainian crisis?

Better air pollution data is helping us all breathe easier. Here’s how

TTIP is not dead as of yet, the 15th round of negotiations in New York shouts

Is Germany closer to Russia than the West? Nord Stream II and Iran count more

Be a part of the World Forum on Future Trends in Defence and Security

Industrial price dive may lead to point of no return

Unanswered questions for Europe’s youth in President Juncker’s State of Union

This mobile laundry gives homeless people free showers and washes their clothes

The power of digital tools to transform mental healthcare

Waste-free consumption: 3 reasons why cities will lead

Right2Water initiative: Is the Commission ready to listen to citizens?

Japan’s population is shrinking by a quarter of a million people every year

Clean air is good for business

eGovernmnet for more efficiency, equality and democracy

Commissioner sings “Volar-e” but the European driver no “Cantar-e”

Education expenditure in the EU not hurt much by crisis

Not a single child spared the ‘mind-boggling violence’ of Yemen’s war

Thai citizenship means ‘dream of a brighter future’ for cave rescue boys, says UN Refugee Agency

Coal addiction ‘must be overcome’ to ease climate change, UN chief says in Bangkok

Peacekeeping: A ‘great opportunity’ to develop professionally and personally

Time to make a fundamental choice about the future of healthcare

UN standing with Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique as Southern Africa death toll from deadly cyclone mounts

Good grub: why we might be eating insects soon

The European Sting at the Retail Forum for Sustainability live from Barcelona

The number of internally displaced people is at a record high. Here’s why

Online shopping across the EU to be easier from 3 December

We need greater protection for our oceans. We can’t let politics stand in the way

JADE Testimonial #2: Jacques @ Process mapping

Asylum seekers in Sri Lanka fear for their safety, in wake of Easter Sunday terror attacks

At UN forum, Asia-Pacific countries highlight importance of transport for sustainable development

Preserving biodiversity vital to reverse tide of climate change, UN stresses on International Day

South Sudan: UN rights experts see little headway on peace deal amid spike in local-level violence

Commission paralysed before the banking leviathan

UN launches new framework to strengthen fight against terrorism

We now know how much ice Antarctica has lost in the last 25 years – three trillion tonnes

FROM THE FIELD: ‘Race is on’ to halt biodiversity loss in Indonesia

We are on the edge of a new ‘cyber’ space age. This is how we make it a success

Juncker Plan exceeds original €315 billion investment target

G20 to Germany: Abandon miser policies

The ECB proposes a swift solution for SMEs’ financing

UN sees progress in fight against tobacco, warns more action needed to help people quit deadly product

Good Governance in developing modern quality infrastructure systems

UN envoy says he ‘is ready to go to Idlib’ to help ensure civilian safety amid rising fears of government offensive

Five ways individuals can help save the oceans

‘A global measles crisis’ is well underway, UN agency chiefs warn

Measles cases nearly doubled in a year, UN health agency projects

FROM THE FIELD: ‘Eco-warriors’ fight climate change in South Africa

UN chief urges ‘active, substantive and meaningful participation’ on International Day of Democracy

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s