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UN envoy urges to address sexual violence in South Sudan

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February 11, 2021 (JUBA) – Pramila Patten, special envoy of U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on sexual violence in conflict, called on the South Sudanese government to expedite the establishment of the African Union Hybrid Court to address sexual violence and other grave violations of human rights in the country.

Pramila Patten, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict (UN photo)On 29 January, Information Minister and Cabinet Spokesman Michael Makuei Lueth said the Council of Ministers authorized the Justice Minister to launch the process of establishing the hybrid court, agreed in the revitalized peace pact of 12 September 2018.

The African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security Smail Chergui welcomed the decision and described it as “another major development in South Sudan towards establishing the Hybrid Court as per the Revitalized Peace Agreement”.

“(…) Patten, welcomes the announcement by the Government of South Sudan to establish transitional justice institutions (…) and calls on the Government to expedite their establishment,” reads a statement released on Thursday.

She further stressed that the establishment of the long-awaited court "will be a strong signal that such crimes, including acts of sexual violence, will not be tolerated, that those responsible will be held accountable, and that the needs of survivors and communities will be addressed".

In May 2020, a report issued by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan and the UN Human Rights Office document 356 incidents of conflict-related sexual violence, including rape, that took place between January 2018 and January 2020.

These incidents involved at least 1423 victims, including 302 children.

The report further underscored that the sexual assaults incident are committed by government and opposition forces, as well as youth militia alike.

The UN senior official also pointed to the need to adhere to the 35 % quota for women’s representation in government institutions, including transitional justice institutions, as provided in the peace agreement.

(ST)

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