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04.08.2022 22:12 News >> UN Urges Zero-Tolerance Policy On Conflict-Related Sexual Violence In South Sudan

UN Urges Zero-Tolerance Policy On Conflict-Related Sexual Violence In South Sudan

Chair of UN Commission on Human Rights says conflict related sexual violence has recently become systematic, extensive.

By Benjamin Takpiny
JUBA, South Sudan (AA ) - The United Nations Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan urged the adoption of a zero-tolerance policy on crimes of conflict-related sexual violence in this country.
Yasmin Sooka, chairperson of the Commission said conflict-related sexual violence has recently become systematic and extensive in South Sudan country.
Sooka said at a news conference in the capital, Juba, that sexual violence was being committed during inter-communal violence that often involves cattle-raiding and competition for natural resources.
"We met with many of the survivors, we interviewed them, of course. Many of the people were incredibly pleased to see that there is some form of accountability but as they said it is just not enough," said Sooka.
"We need to see more accountability and we don't only need to see the foot soldiers prosecuted. What we want to see is that the leadership of the different armed forces, in fact, hold commanders accountable because that is the only way that sexual violence in this country will stop," she added.
Andrew Clapham, a member of the UN experts team, said the policy, when adopted, will not only see foot soldiers prosecuted in courts but senior government officials and military commanders.
"There should be a zero-tolerance policy toward sexual and gender-based violence and such a commitment could be concretely demonstrated by standing down or even prosecuting senior government and military officials associated with such crimes," he said.
The team visited South Sudan this week and met government officials, representatives of civil society, the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and members of the diplomatic community to follow up on findings and recommendations of the Commission's latest report, "Conflict-related sexual violence against women and girls in South Sudan."
Clapham said that the policy should take note of the low status of women in society, their limited participation in public institutions and the pervasive environment for sexual and gender-based violence.
"We have noted that some of the prosecutions in Yei County are significant because they are rare steps toward accountability. But in order to tackle the size of this problem, we feel that they should be extended beyond Yei but also that the follow up to that prosecution should include proper reparations for the victims," he said.
In the second quarter of 2022, the UN Human Rights Division documented at least 13 sexual gender-based violence occurrences of rape or gang rape in nine states.
The occurrences affected 14 victims in addition to 30 conflict-related sexual violence incidents involving 121 victims affecting a total of 135 civilians, in cases of sexual violence linked to the ongoing armed conflict.
At least 70% of the alleged perpetrators were family members, community members or neighbors well known to the victims and usually trusted by their families. -



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