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Over 6,000 incidents of GBV reported between Jan and Sept in S Sudan – UNFPA

Author: Daniel Danis | Published: Thursday, November 26, 2020

File: Human rights experts say up to 65% of women and girls in South Sudan experience physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime.

A total of 6,295 reported incidents of Gender-based Violence were recorded from January 1 – September 30, 2020, the UN Population Fund has said.

On Wednesday, South Sudanese launched the campaign for the elimination of violence against women.

The International Day is marked under the global theme: “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, and Collect!”

According to the Ministry of Gender Child and Social Welfare and the UNFPA, cases of violence against women have significantly increased in South Sudan during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mary Otieno, the country representative of the UNFPA, said the numbers received are “from a very small source of date, so we don’t know the magnitude because we have [not] done a survey.”

But the statistics show that 97% of the reported GBV incident survivors were female while 3% were male.

“Women and girls continued to be disproportionately affected,” it noted in a statement.

Of all reported GBV incidents for the indicated duration, UNFPA records show physical assault accounts for 39%, followed by psychological/emotional abuse (21%) and sexual violence (21%).

A “sum of rape cases is at – 17% and sexual assault cases – 4%.”

Ms Otieno described the data has an amalgamation of various reports gathered from “NGOs that are providing services in the field and those that come to our one-stop centre.”

The South Sudan Penal Code states that whoever commits an offence of rape upon conviction shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years and may also be liable to a fine.

But human rights groups say perpetrators of rape and Gender-based Violence have largely remained unpunished.

In August last year, Chief Justice Chan Reec Madut announced plans to establish special courts to handle crimes related to gender-based violence in the country.

But such courts are yet to be established.

But in his remarks in Juba during the launch of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, Chan Reech yet again promised to form special courts.

“I want to assure you that as the judiciary, in the next few days – and even before the end of the 16 days of activism – we are going to have the GBV court opened here in Juba,” he announced.

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual international campaign that kicks off on 25 November and runs until 10 December on Human Rights Day.

Meanwhile, the vice president for gender cluster called on the public not to look at gender-based violence as an only women issue across the country.

Rebecca Nyandeng Garang argues that it is a collective responsibility for all South Sudanese to address the issue.

“We must collectively come together to overturn practices that are a threat to the future of this country,” she stated.

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