Rape: a war tactic used by groups allied to the government of South Sudan.
On March 11, the United Nations Human Rights Office released a report detailing the host of crimes specifically targeting women and children in South Sudan.
“The High Commissioner’s report alleges crimes against humanity and war crimes,” said David Marshall, officer in charge of the Global Issues Section for the United Nations, to The Guilfordian. “Both are considered atrocity crimes, the most serious under international law.”
“The crisis is deep and profound. The most horrifying has been the campaign of sexual violence by government soldiers and associated militia.”
In December 2013, conflict was ignited by a political struggle between President Salva Kiir, aligned with the Dinka ethnic group, and former Vice President Riek Machar, aligned with the Nuer ethnic group.
“There are mainly political factors at play,” said Marshall. “A rivalry between two men led to the split in the main political party, which led to supporters of each group taking up arms — the government and its allied militia against the opposition and armed youth.”
However disturbing the initial political situation may have been, the current humanitarian concerns outweigh bureaucratic matters.
“In 2015, the government launched a large scale attack to destroy the opposition, including civilians who were perceived to be supporters of the opposition,” said Marshall. “This campaign of violence appeared to focus on women and children and their property.”
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