Taskforce formed to prevent rape and abuse in Western Equatoria
10 September 2014 - With high incidences of rape and sexual abuse in Western Equatoria, the state government and partners formed a taskforce today in the capital Yambio to launch a campaign on preventing such practices.
The campaign by the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare in coordination with UNMISS, UN agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuses will target the community and government officials.
Although rape and sexual exploitation cases are frequent, victims are shy about reporting them so that perpetrators can be brought to justice.
State Gender Minister Zelipha Dawa said the national government in Juba and partners had already formed a like taskforce, but Western Equatoria would be the first to form one at state level in charge of sub-committees formed by NGOS.
“Of course, we have a lot of issues among the community, like harassment of women and girls at workplaces and rape cases, which the taskforce will deal with,” Ms. Dawa said.
She noted that young girls who had completed their studies and were searching for job were being asked for sex in exchange for employment. The task force would create awareness among the community and tell victims to report such cases to relevant authorities.
“The taskforce … will serve as the primary body for the coordination and the oversight on the prevention and response to sexual exploitation and abuse of members of local populations,” Ms. Dawa said.
“The taskforce will not be responsible for the investigation or adjudication of cases, but a separate special group will be formed to deal with the investigations,” she added.
The taskforce comprises representative of UNMISS’ gender section, Inter-church, World Vision, the UN Refugee Agency, Disable and the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare, which will spearhead arrangements for the launching next month.
The campaign is expected to target the state’s 10 counties, refugee camps and schools as well as government officials, communities and their leaders.