United Nations Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Hawa Bangura, urges national authorities in South Sudan to implement commitments to address sexual violence crimes

By Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-Genera

The United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Mrs. Zainab Hawa Bangura, at the conclusion of a four day visit to Juba, has urged high-level authorities of the Transitional Government of National Unity in South Sudan to implement commitments made to address sexual violence crimes.

These commitments are contained in a Joint Communiqué signed on 11 October 2014 by H.E. President Salva Kiir Mayardit and Special Representative Bangura, as well as in a Unilateral Communiqué issued on 18 December 2014 by H.E. Dr. Riek Machar Teny. In their respective Communiqués, the signatories had committed to immediately cease and prevent the commission of sexual violence crimes, hold perpetrators accountable, improve services to survivors, and ensure that sexual violence considerations are included in the ongoing processes of Security Sector Reform, as well as Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration.

“I commend the steps taken by both signatories to put in place arrangements to facilitate the implementation of these commitments, including the designation of High-Level Focal Points, the creation of Technical Working Groups and the development of Implementation Plans, as well as the signing of undertakings by 53 senior commanders of the SPLA-IO”, Special Representative Bangura said.

Despite these commitments and the progress made to implement them, sexual violence crimes have continued to be systematically committed in the context of the conflict. ''Now, more than ever before, it is imperative for the authorities of the Transitional Government of National Unity to ensure accountability for these crimes”, Special Representative Bangura added.

“Successful implementation of the Peace Agreement will require that sexual violence crimes are monitored, tracked and reported, and are addressed in all transitional justice processes”, she stressed.

During her visit, Special Representative Bangura engaged with the leadership of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) and the South Sudanese National Police Service (SSNPS), who have committed to taking concrete and time-bound actions to address sexual violence in accordance with Security Council Resolutions 1960 and 2106. “My Office will pursue its support to the SPLA and SSNPS in developing Action Plans, which will provide a structured and comprehensive framework through which to address sexual violence crimes”, Special Representative Bangura affirmed.

Mrs. Bangura visited South Sudan at the invitation of the Government. She met with H.E. President Salva Kiir Mayardit, First Vice-President, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, and other key government officials. She also held meetings with women's groups providing services to survivors, the humanitarian community, and the diplomatic corps. This visit follows her previous visit in 2014 during which she met with survivors and survivors' groups, and underscored the urgent need for resources to support multi-sectoral services for survivors, who often suffer trauma, marginalization and stigmatization.