Conflict-related sexual violence continues to be a pervasive problem around the world. South Sudan is no exception.
As this young nation gears up to complete its democratic transition through free, fair, and credible elections at the end of 2024, ending as well as preventing all forms of violence against women remains a priority, as discussed by all participants at a two-day workshop organized by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in Jonglei state and the Greater Pibor Administrative Area.
“Women and children in South Sudan are still being raped, abused and abducted. In this workshop, we have heard testimonies from two women who volunteered to help us raise awareness about the severity of sexual violence and the lifelong impact it has on victims. It’s time we all rally to ensure that our women, our girls are safe,” stated William Kuol Chol, Jonglei State Minister for Gender, Child and Social Welfare.
Kenya Mach, a participant, urged authorities and communities to unite in ending stigma against survivors of sexual violence and hold perpetrators accountable.
“We need to stand up for the rights of women and children by reporting any instances of sexual violence and supporting survivors fully. Traditional ways of handling these matters can no longer protect us,” she explained.
A consensus was reached at the end of the workshop: Eliminating violence against women begins by preventing them.
Furthermore, participants were urged to share the knowledge they received among their communities and help authorities protect them by speaking up against such ills.
The UN Peacekeeping mission, is of course, here on the ground to support this endeavor.
“Our role is to help prevent and end sexual violence and, in partnership with South Sudanese authorities, ensure that perpetrators of such crimes are held fully accountable. We believe that bringing offenders to trial is of immense importance to end such violations,” said Geetha Pious, Head of the UNMISS Field Office in the region.
For their part, authorities were urged to consolidate their actions to eliminate impunity and ensure survivors receive the justice they deserve.
This workshop took place on the margins of the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, annually commemorated on 19 June.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).