Note to Correspondents: Joint UN-AU Statement on Conflict-Related Sexual Violence in South Sudan
The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ambassador Smaїl Chergui, and United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director for UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka are appalled by the acts of sexual violence, including rape, committed against an estimated more than 150 women and girls recently near Bentiu in South Sudan.
Recalling their joint visit to South Sudan and Bentiu only two months ago, Mr. Lacroix, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka and Ambassador Chergui note the continued brutality to which women and girls are subjected and the lack of accountability. They met with women who were hopeful about the signing of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) in September 2018, but remained concerned and fearful about the fragile peace and security in their communities. This type of predatory behaviour is abhorrent and must end immediately.
The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, the Executive Director of UN Women and the African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security recalled the resolve of Government authorities to address sexual violence. Given that these recent attacks took place in Government controlled areas, the three urge President Salva Kiir and his senior leadership to expedite efforts to prevent such violence, including through immediate justice and accountability measures.
Further, they urge all parties to the conflict in South Sudan to implement their obligations to address sexual violence and restore the dignity of the women and children of South Sudan, as well as prosecute those responsible to the fullest extent.
The United Nations and African Union stand ready to assist the parties in finding a political solution to the conflict, through the full implementation of their commitments to the Agreement, as well as continue to advocate for the safety of women and girls and their access to services and justice.