Brutal sexual violence by Machar’s, Taban’s & Kiir’s armies persists in South Sudan – UN

By Monitor Reporter, (From UN Human Rights Office and UNMISS), FEB/15/2019, SSN;

There are persistently high levels of sexual violence in South Sudan’s northern Unity region, with at least 134 women and girls raped, and 41 having suffered other forms of sexual and physical violence between September and December 2018, a UN report released on Friday reveals.

Among the survivors, some were as young as eight. The actual level of sexual violence is likely to be considerably higher than the number of cases recorded, according to UN.

The report by the UN Human Rights Office and the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) warns that although attacks against civilians have decreased significantly since the peace agreement was signed on September 12, 2018, endemic conflict-related sexual violence continues in northern Unity region. 

“The sexual violence was committed in a context of “pervasive impunity, which contributed to the normalisation of violence against women and girls,” the report notes.

In Summary

  • The Mission also increased peacekeeping patrols and cleared foliage from roads to make it more difficult for attackers to conceal their presence.
  • UNMISS has been operating a mobile court in hotspots, such as Bentiu and Malakal, to help address the issue of impunity, and intends to work with local judicial authorities to support such mobile courts in prosecuting crimes more widely across the country.

Almost 90 percent of the women and girls were raped by more than one perpetrator and often over several hours. Pregnant women and nursing mothers were also victims of sexual violence.

In one incident alone on December 17, in the village of Lang in Koch County, five women were gang-raped, four of whom were pregnant. One of the women was nearly nine months pregnant.

Survivors of sexual violence described being brutally beaten by perpetrators with rifle butts, sticks, small firearms and cable wires, if they attempted to resist their assailants or after they were raped.

The ruthlessness of the attackers appears to be a consistent feature of the sexual violence documented, the report states. The UN also indicates that the perpetrators had a certain level of premeditation.

One survivor narrated how she and her friends were raped on three separate occasions. With each attack, the number of assailants increased significantly.

Most of the attacks are reported to have been carried out by youth militia groups and elements of the pro-Taban Deng Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO (TD)) as well as South Sudan People’s Defence Forces (SSPDF).

In a few cases, attacks were perpetrated by members of pro-Riek Machar Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO (RM).

The investigation found that multiple factors had contributed to the upsurge in sexual violence in the area, including large numbers of fighters on “standby” mode, awaiting implementation of security arrangements under the peace deal; the presence of many armed youth militia; and a lack of accountability for past sexual violence at the individual and command level.

Given the destruction of livelihoods, forced displacement and food insecurity after years of civil war, many women and girls have to travel long distances through high-risk areas in search for food, water and firewood.

UN notes a feeling of resignation amongst survivors, and a sense of normalisation surrounding the risk of being subjected to sexual violence.

“We women do not have a choice,” one 30-year-old survivor from Koch County said. “There is no alternative for us. If we go by the main road, we are raped. If we go by the bush, we are raped. I was raped among others in the same area repeatedly on three different occasions. We avoided the road because we heard horrible stories that women and girls are grabbed while passing through and are raped, but the same happened to us. There is no escape – we are all raped.”

“The volatility of the situation in South Sudan combined with the lack of accountability for violations and abuses committed throughout Unity region, likely leads armed actors to believe that they can get away with rape and other horrific forms of sexual violence,” said the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.
“Sadly, we have continued to receive reports of rape and gang rape in northern Unity region since the beginning of this year.”

“I urge the Government of South Sudan to take adequate measures – including those laid out in the peace agreement – to protect women and girls, to promptly and thoroughly investigate all allegations of sexual violence and to hold the perpetrators accountable through fair trials,” Bachelet added in a statement that was posted on UNHR website.

The High Commissioner also called on the authorities to ensure that humanitarian organizations can conduct their work without fear of reprisals and with unobstructed access to victims.

Upon receiving initial reports of the increase in reported cases of sexual violence, UNMISS immediately engaged with political leaders and security services. The Mission also increased peacekeeping patrols and cleared foliage from roads to make it more difficult for attackers to conceal their presence.

UNMISS has been operating a mobile court in hotspots, such as Bentiu and Malakal, to help address the issue of impunity, and intends to work with local judicial authorities to support such mobile courts in prosecuting crimes more widely across the country. END

6 Comments

  1. SSudan says:

    To: UN Administration;
    You are not serious of all events against innocence and just fond of reporting and no action against committers of crimes in South Sudan. Deal with them accordingly both soldiers or leaders who failed the country.

  2. mading says:

    This so called UN is doing more harm in South Sudan than good, with its anti peace elements in South Sudan. I remembered when this UN big lie came out, the government sent team there, only to find that there were no such cases of rape in those areas. So after that a minister went to the UN representative to work with her on that report to find out what happened. The so called UN boss was not cooperating with the government. I take this as anti peace group’s work.

  3. John wani says:

    Mading,
    it appears you are part and parcel of this beastility. How many people have been raped by the Jieng army in south sudan, including the 2016 raping of American aid workers. One Jieng army was heard telling his colleagues in Aweil on phone that .. Ya Jek, nihina biga ge niku kawajat. If a Jieng army can rape foreign aid workers, what about the ordinary poor south sudanese who has no one to report the rape cases to?
    it is therefore, a culture rooted in Jieng’s evil traditon to rape and kill women and children from other tribes, including mad people.
    Mading, if you a true human being with conscience, you would’ve condemned the rape cases perpetuated by your brothers, but to dismiss that such a thing never happened is a sinful act.

    • Ayuen Nhial says:

      John Wani,
      You have used the word “conscience” as if you know its meaning but you don’t! According to Wikipedia definition: Conscience is a cognitive process that elicits emotion and rational associations based on an individual’s moral philosophy or value system.
      You should have the distinction between the entire ethnic group or society and immoral individuals who committed those crimes but your cognitive process isn’t good enough to know the difference! You cannot tell me that there is a single leader in South Sudan who condone that kind of behavior.

      There are bad apples in every society including yours; don’t pretend that you don’t have them and I would never generalize your entire tribes or paint them with a broad-brush as bad apples because I would be as irresponsible as you are; but that doesn’t mean that kind of behavior is acceptable in either yours or my tribe.

      There were rape reports in American army which is one of the powerful army in the world. US congress had hearing about it few years ago and that confirm that there are bad apples in the every society but according to your logic; the entire American societies are rapists!
      Here is the bottom-line; those rapists shouldn’t be defended but should be rooted out everywhere in any society including yours, mine and in Americans.

  4. GatCharwearbol says:

    Fellow country men and women, beware that UN is there as business organization not your friend seeking your wellbeing. What so far prolong the civil war is the UN itself and behind it is superpower countries. Their interest is to collect money through our suffering.

  5. mading says:

    John Wani. You guys tried all those liars and it did not take you any where, your masters you were lobbying all these times to liberate you came to know that you guys are nothing, but jealous propagandists.

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