Rights group urges justice for victims raped by national army

Press Release

South Sudan’s soldiers stand at attention during the official independence day ceremony. Photo © J.B. Russell
South Sudan’s soldiers stand at attention during the official independence day ceremony. Photo © J.B. Russell

Press Release | The Center for Peace and Advocacy (CPA) has recently noted with great concern gross human rights violations perpetrated against women in the country.

On Wednesday, CPA learned that innocent women were gang-raped between March and April of this year in South Sudan and such an unbearable incident was confirmed by a law maker representing Yei River County in the Transitional Legislature Assembly and perpetrators happened to be “men in uniform”. CPA urges the government to hold perpetrators accountable and brought them to book.

“The failure of the government to protect and support victims of sexual violence undermines the quest for justice,” said the group’s national Director Ter Manyang Gatwech.

Since the signing of Revitalized Peace Agreement on Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) on the 12 September 2018 in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia by parties to the agreement and therefore, human rights situations remain a challenge for the last two years in South Sudan.

Late last year to early this year, rape and gang rapes occurred in northern Unity state has been reportedly continuing this year, with perpetrators apparently thinking they could get away unpunished a statement by U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet (Source Reuters news). Last November there were report of 125 women and girls who were allegedly raped or gang raped over a 10-day period reported.

Reference Reuters: http://reut.rs/3rHsVek

Violence against women and girls in South Sudan remains a challenge. Two thirds of women who have experienced domestic violence say it was perpetrated by an intimate partner, while one in four women report that their first sexual experience was forced. It is important to note that in cases of sexual violence, many women do not report due to fear, stigma and the trauma that is associated with the offences.

“These police brutalities are just a tip of the ice bag of the magnitude of violence committed against women on a daily basis in this country.”

We at CPA condemn these acts of injustice committed by individuals and other criminal groups in the country. As a Human rights organization, we urge the government to bring these criminals to justice and also to speed up the formation of states governments and hybrid court for South Sudan to avoid such violations.

Women Empowerment and Participation in Good Governance

South Sudan's empowered women celebrating during an event organized by the Zain South Sudan.

Opinion | By Kong Diew Chany

Sept 25, 2020 (Thessherald)–Majority of our youths who participate in the advocacy for a good governance in South Sudan are males. This shows that our society is a patrilineal society, a male-dominated society. We need to empower our girls and women to fully participate and engage in a good governance. They need to be sensitized to fight for their inalienable rights.

In the recently partially formed Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (RTGNU), women were underrepresented, particularly on President Salva Kiir’s side. The SPLM-IG needed to allocate 2 gubernatorial positions and more ministerial portfolios to women. I do not know why women never came out to protest against that humiliation. The democracy, which the SPLM-IG has been talking about is only on a paper and its members’ mouths, it has not been put into practice. Women should go straight to President Salva Kiir to ask him why he infringed on their right; they should ask him where he has taken women’s 35% quota in governance.

A country that does not respect women’s rights is deemed to fail because they are the backbone of every nation. Our women are the only women who have felt the brunt of this senseless war on the Africa Continent; President Salva Kiir’s militias killed and raped them. President Kiir’s militias never have respect for our women. We will only enjoy the fruits of our liberation struggles when women are accorded all their full rights.

Let us build our girls and women socially, economically, and politically. If the government keeps them at bay from the political arena, our nation will never develop faster. Our women need more support, they need to be given access to quality healthcare and education.

The Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGNU) should should embark on building technical schools that can impart hard skills to our women. Our women need vocational training centers that can offer tailoring (dress making), hairdressing, cookery, bread making, and etcetera. They also need more trainings on entrepreneurship and financial management.

The author is a concerned South Sudanese citizen. He can be reached at kongdiew2016@gmail.com