March 21, 2016
By Vicky Karimi
Republished from The Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security Blog
Over the years, rape as a tactic of war has been witnessed globally across geographical and cultural divides, including in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Bosnia, Liberia and Syria, to name but a few. This scourge continues unabated for various reasons, key among which is a record of insufficient prosecution of sexual violence crimes at the national, regional and international levels. This has resulted in an impunity gap within which sexual violence thrives, is tolerated and even celebrated by warring factions. South Sudan is the latest demonstration of this.
On March 10th, 2016, the United Nations released a report containing the principal findings of a comprehensive assessment conducted by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights into allegations of violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law in South Sudan since the outbreak of violence in December 2013. The assessment, which builds on and confirms the findings of previous reports, highlights the extent to which sexual violence has been perpetrated in the South Sudan conflict. It finds that from April to September 2015, the UN recorded more than 1,300 reports of rape in just one of South Sudan’s ten states: oil-rich Unity.