The UN’s Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan on Wednesday urged all parties in South Sudan to cease conflict immediately in light of potential war crimes and honor the Revitalized Peace Agreement, signed in September.
The Commission found that the country’s violence has “markedly worsened” since December 2017. It was particularly concerned by reports of sexual violence, 25 percent of which involve child victims.
“Rapes, gang rapes, sexual mutilation, abductions and sexual slavery, as well as killings, have become commonplace in South Sudan,” said Committee Chairperson Yasmin Sooka. “There is no doubt that these crimes are persistent because impunity is so entrenched that every kind of norm is broken.”
In addition to sexual violence, the reports also found [A/HRC/40/69] arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances and the recruitment of child soldiers, although the number of child soldiers has been declining.
The Commission wrote, “South Sudan’s challenges are immense … given the protracted conflict, its ethnic dimensions and deep divisions; the inability of the population to access the economy; the lack of financial capacity and capable organisational and human resources; and what is perceived to be a dysfunctional and predatory elite system of government.”
The Commission recommends the region invest in transitional justice courts and ensure that women and other marginalized communities are represented in the transitional justice process.