According to a new UN report, state and opposition forces in South Sudan are using gang rape as a weapon of war. There is strong evidence that the South Sudanese government has allowed the military to abduct and sexually assault women and girls as a reward for their service.
Between April and September 2015, the UN documented over 1,300 cases of rape in just one of the ten states of South Sudan. The report details cases where the victim is murdered for resisting the rape. Other accounts reveal that young girls and women are gang raped. Others are abducted and raped in the military camps.
The majority of survivors have not received any justice. One in five survivors seek reparations. Shame, stigmatization and the fear of reprisal by the perpetrator prevent survivors from reporting the assault. There are also high levels of impunity for the perpetrators. Corruption impedes the justice system’s capacity to hold offenders accountable.
War in South Sudan broke out in December 2013 between the state and supporters of former vice president, Riek Machar. A peace agreement was signed between the rival parties in August 2015, but both sides have since violated the agreement and there has been no ceasefire. At least 50,000 people have been killed, and 2 million people have been displaced, including 110,000 who are now refugees in neighbouring countries.
South Sudan: UN report contains “searing” account of killings, rapes and destruction, United Nations, 11 March 2016.
In South Sudan’s War, Mass Gang Rape Has Become an Everyday Weapon, Vice News, 11 March 2016.
South Sudan: women and girls raped as ‘wages’ for government-allied fighters, The Guardian, 28 September 2015.
Rape survivors not accessing justice, says South Sudan Law Society, Radio Tamazuj, 22 March 2016.