South Sudan: Mass Sexual Violence Used as Weapon of Terror Against Women and Girls

A comprehensive United Nations report on the human rights situation in South Sudan shows that women and girls continue to be subjected to systematic violence at an alarming rate. The UN states that government forces are predominantly responsible, but that all parties in the country’s civil conflict have committed brutal human rights abuses against women, children and other civilians. As quoted in the New York Times, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said, “This is one of the most horrendous rights situations in the world, with massive use of rape as an instrument of terror.” According to the UN and other human rights groups, South Sudanese soldiers and militias have tacit approval from the government to subject women to gang rape, abduction, forced marriage and sexual slavery as a way to punish and terrorize civilians. The UN said ending the violence required a functioning justice system and “a commitment to investigate, prosecute and punish perpetrators.” 

The UN Human Rights Council will likely vote this month on the appointment of a special rapporteur to monitor the situation in South Sudan.


Compiled from: Cumming–Bruce, Nick, Mass Rape, A Weapon Of War, Traumatizes South SudanNew York Times, (March 11, 2016); South Sudan: UN report contains “searing” account of killings, rapes and destruction, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights News (March 11, 2016).