South Sudan: UN Investigators Say Violent Rapes Have Reached “Epic Proportions”
Monday, December 5, 2016 10:40 AM

Rape as a weapon of war has reached “epic proportions” in South Sudan, according to the UN Independent Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan (“UN Commission”). The UN Commission issued its statement after visiting the country and interviewing survivors. The Chair of the commission expressed outrage that the international community was ignoring the problem, stating “[t]he scale of gang rape of civilian women as well as the horrendous nature of the rapes by armed men belonging to all groups is utterly repugnant.” Rape survivors told investigators they are often blamed for their rapes and abandoned by their husbands and communities. Most victims lack access to adequate medical or psychological care. 

The UN Commission said it was particularly concerned about the “normalization” of rape as a tool for ethnic cleansing across the country and the “absolute impunity for these crimes.” Investigators said that in order to stop the rapes, those in command who allow and encourage sexual violence must be held accountable. They have called for a special investigative team to gather evidence for future prosecutions.

Links to video footage of the UN Commission’s visit to South Sudan may be found on the UN OHCHR website (scroll to the bottom of the page to access links).  

Compiled from: UN Experts call for UN special investigation into epic levels of sexual violence in South Sudan, UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights News (December 2, 2016).