UN says victims of sexual violence reach 32,000

The spokesperson said sexual violence was still a "new notion" in South Sudan in spite of efforts by officials to create awareness on it.

Somali refugees wait to see the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Antonio Guterres at the Ifo camp in Dadaab near the Kenya-Somalia border, May 8, 2015

The Spokeswoman of the UN Mission in South Sudan, Ariane Quentier, said in Juba that in spite of the various measures put in place to mitigate the scale of sexual violence in the country, nothing would be achieved unless victims were free to speak out and report to relevant authorities.

She said ``we shall not be able to address sexual violence unless people who have been victimised speak out and report it.

``Several UN reports on the South Sudan civil war have accused both former warring parties the government troops (SPLA) and the rebels (SPLA-IO) of raping women, girls and abducting children.''

Ariane said that all parties, including SPLA, SPLA-IO and other local militia groups affiliated to both parties committed sexual violence during conflict.

She added that most cases were committed in the northern states of Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile, which had been hit hard by the brutal conflict.

``Accountability is important. It's why we (UN) and other independent organisations are documenting human rights violations," she said.

Ariane added that the world body was currently involved in documenting witnesses and had conducted workshops across the country to highlight sexual violence effects.

Naweza Muderhwa, the UNMISS Women Protection Officer, disclosed that more than 32,000 people have been victimised since conflict broke out in December 2013.

She added that such violence had been used as weapon of war to destabilise communities.

South Sudan is recovering from the aftermath of the civil war, which ended by the formation of a transitional unity government by former warring parties in April.

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