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South Sudan’s NAS establishes committee on sexual violence

February 6, 2020 (JUBA) - The leader of the National Salvation Front (NAS) Thomas Cirilo has established a committee on conflict-related sexual crimes.

Lt. Gen. Thomas Cirilo Swaka, the ex-SPLA deputy chief of general staff for training (youtube photo)

Cirilo on Wednesday appointed a three-member committee on the conflict-related sexual violence pointing to the “gravity and destructive impact of this crime on our society and the dignity of our people”.

The committee will be chaired by Mrs Alma Zeno Riko Ettore, and Justice Charles James Samuel as deputy chairman while Mary Juma Sestilio was appointed as secretary.

The appointment of the committee coincides with the release of 78 women and 50 children by the SPLM-IO in Western Equatoria and the visit of the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan to the country.

In his statement, NAS leader said the committee will be the Movement’s focal point on issues of conflict-related sexual violence. Also, it will develop and adopt policies and measures to prevent and manage such crimes.

Also, the panel has to raise awareness and to cooperate with national and international human rights groups and organizations to address these crimes.

In a statement released on 4 February, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten, vowed to advocate for the release of women and children held by armed opposition groups across Western Equatoria.

Patten also called for accountability for sexual violence crimes in order to prevent and deter future violations.

(ST)