from RAJI BASHIR in Khartoum, Sudan
KHARTOUM, (CAJ News) – EMERGING cases of conflict-related sexual violence are overshadowing an overall decrease in the number of civilians affected by violence across South Sudan.
The latest human rights report released by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), covering the second quarter of this year recorded 922 civilian casualties.
This represents a 15-percent decrease in victims compared with the same period in 2021.
However, there is 218-percent increase in conflict-related sexual violence during the quarter.
This violence comprises rape and gang-rape.
Nicholas Haysom, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, said the exponential surge in sexual and gender-based violence was unacceptable, impacting most severely on the women and girls.
“This violence that divides communities and hampers reconciliation needs to end,” the envoy said.
UNMISS supports South Sudanese authorities to ensure accountability and access to justice for survivors and victims, through some special and mobile courts.
Such include the adjudication of rape trials through a General Court Martial process in Yei, Central Equatoria State.
Inter-communal conflict remains the primary source of civilian harm, accounting for 60 per cent of civilian casualties.
Most of the causalities (38 percent) are attributed to the government forces and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army – In Opposition (SPLM/A-IO).
The trend is similar to the first quarter of 2022.
South Sudan has constantly suffered conflict since emerging as the world’s newest country in 2011.
– CAJ News