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Gov’t urged to probe ‘massive scale’ sexual violence

Author : | Published: Monday, July 24, 2017

Amnesty International has urged the government to conduct independent investigation into cases of sexual violence during the conflict and punish those responsible.

It says thousands of South Sudanese women and girls, and some men, who have been raped, are suffering mental distress and stigma with nowhere to turn for help.

The report titled – Do not remain silent: Survivors of sexual violence in South Sudan call for justice and reparation – reveals that the perpetrators come from both sides of the conflict.

Amnesty International says the report is the result of a joint research project with 10 South Sudanese human rights defenders.

The rights group Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, Muthoni Wanyeki, says this is pre-meditated sexual violence on a massive scale.

She says the government must take measures to halt the epidemic of sexual violence by sending a clear message of zero tolerance and immediately ordering for an effective investigation.

“This is pre-meditated sexual violence on a massive scale. Women have been gang-raped, sexually assaulted with sticks and mutilated with knives,” said Wanyeki in the report.

“These indefensible acts have left the victims with debilitating and life-changing consequences, including physical injuries and psychological distress. Many survivors have also been shunned by their husbands and in-laws and stigmatized by the wider community.”

However, SPLA spokesperson Brigadier General Lul Ruai, says Amnesty International should come forward with concrete evidence so that the perpetrators can be identified.

“It’s not a new thing for Amnesty International to accuse government forces of unsubstantiated claims of sexual abuse in particular and other inhumane acts,” Gen Ruai told Eye Radio Monday.

“We are still calling on Amnesty International to come forward with concrete information, with the alleged victims of sexual violence, so that they help us in the identification of culprits.”

Amnesty International says its researchers interviewed 168 victims of sexual violence including 16 men in the former Central Equatoria, Jonglei, Upper Nile and Unity states as well as in three refugee settlements in northern Uganda.

The court martial is currently handling two cases in which SPLA soldiers were accused of rape – Kubi and Terrain Hotel.

Read the full report here

 

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