CSOs call on SSPDF to end endemic sexual violence against women in South Sudan
A group of over 30 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have written to the Chief of Defense Forces decrying the recent rise in (and continuation of) sexual violence against women and are calling for an end to the practice, an immediate investigation and punishment of those responsible.
“We condemn this act of sexual violence which continues to rob women and girls of their dignity and human rights,” read letter in part. “We request your [Chief of Defense Forces] office to for an immediate and appropriate response, including investigation and punishment of the members of the SSPDF involved in the perpetuation of sexual violence against women and girls in the country.”
Recent reports have exposed a series of unabated gender-based atrocities (including rape, abductions and even murder) carried out by “men in uniform” against women, children and youth. 19 women in Yei River county including a pregnant mother were gang-raped late last month. Another report by the UN Security Council also documented several other cases in different parts of the country.
Similarly, the UN Panel of Experts on South Sudan has noted that innocent civilians appear to be bear the brunt of violence by government troops and forces who believe that the civilians support the National Salvation Front (NAS).
“SSPDF sexually assaulted and raped women, including at least one pregnant woman; targeted, detained and executed youth, including children whom the soldiers had found outside of the controlled areas, alleging that the youth were NAS fighter,” noted the UN Security Report.
With a fading public trust and confidence in the SSPDF as a national army, the Civil Society Organisations are appealing to the Chief of Defense Forces to act promptly to halt and discourage these crimes that appear to be meted out on innocent civilians.