UNMISS: Sexual violence on the rise in South Sudan
The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) Tuesday said it is concerned that cases of conflict-related sexual violence are emerging, despite an overall decrease in the number of civilians affected by violence across the country.
In a statement, UNMISS noted that the latest human rights report covering the second quarter of this year recorded 922 civilian casualties, which is a 15 percent decrease in victims compared with the same period in 2021.
The report also noted a 218 percent increase in conflict-related sexual violence – rape and gang-rape, among other forms of sexual violence linked to conflict – during the same period.
The UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Nicholas Haysom said: “The exponential surge in sexual and gender-based violence is completely unacceptable, impacting most severely on the women and girls. This violence that divides communities and hampers reconciliation needs to end."
UNMISS says it supports the authorities to ensure accountability and access to justice for survivors and victims, through a range of special and mobile courts such as the adjudication of rape trials through a General Court Martial process in Yei, Central Equatoria State.
"As was the case in the first quarter of 2022, inter-communal conflict continued to be the primary source of civilian harm accounting for 60 percent of civilian casualties, while 38 percent of casualties were caused by Government forces and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army – In Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) who are increasingly relying on allied militias engage in conflict. One clear example is the case in southern Unity State, where violence resulted in about a third of civilian casualties in the reporting period," the statement reads in part.
UNMISS urged the government of South Sudan to urgently investigate human rights violations and abuses and to hold perpetrators to account while calling for the full implementation of the 2018 peace agreement to enable the security sector to protect civilians.