National Salvation Front (NAS) has issued a nine-point directive to all its military units and members in which the Chairman and Commander-in-Chief Gen. Thomas Cirillo Swaka reiterated a zero-tolerance to sexual violence.
Gen. Thomas is encouraging commanders and political leaders in his party to raise awareness among their units; take adequate measures to protect and secure victims; support and cooperate with rights groups and other actors working to address the heinous crime of sexual violence.
This call follows a circular issued in August this year by the Office of the Chairman directing all members to observe and execute the directives therein.
Several reports published this year document evidence of an alarming increase in the use of sexual violence by the government of Salva Kiir. Topping the list of perpetrators in all those reports were Kiir’s militia closely followed by Machar’s SPLM-IO who use sexual violence against the girl-child, women, boys and elderly persons as a weapon and a tool to intimidate, humiliate, dehumanize, deter and subdue opponents.
The leadership of NAS, citing its commitment and obligations to always side with the citizens to restore their dignity, rule of law, unity and freedom in South Sudan; believes these crimes are against humanity and is taking all necessary steps to ensure that this crime is not tolerated.
“Our women, girls and children continue to face an increased risk of sexual violence and other forms of abuse as the conflict continues. The conflict-related sexual violence and abuse against women, girls and children destroy the integrity of the individual, family and society. It, therefore, constitutes a serious crime against humanity,” reads the message.
“Military commanders, political and civil leaders are to raise awareness; put in place strict measures to prevent, investigate and punish perpetrators of acts of sexual violence,” states the document.
The statement also expressly amplifies the readiness of all NAS cadres to support and cooperate with all national and international human rights organizations and other actors who work to address sexual violence. “All NAS army officers and other ranks are to adhere to and respect international human rights law and international humanitarian law,” states the commitment by NAS.