Sexual violence key feature of the continuing conflict in South Sudan
Sexual violence is widespread in South Sudan. The UN Secretary General's Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Hawa Bangura just visited the country. At the end of her time there, she stated that the sexual violence against women and girls perpetrated by all parties to the conflict is among the worst she had ever seen. She warns that 'the bodies of women and children are the battleground of the conflict'.
A joint message issued by the UN and South Sudan's government outlines clear steps that will be taken to prevent and address sexual violence crimes. One of the measures is to issue clear orders through the army chain of command prohibiting sexual violence. Bangura explained on Monday at UN Headquarters in New York that the crimes are ordered, 'so it can be controlled':
[[QUOTE 0'15 - Zainab Hawa Bangura:
"It is not a crime that happened by accident. That's the reason that we try to work with people to make sure you give the command order, to ensure that structures and systems are put in place and when this crime is committed is has to be investigated and when it is investigated it has to be prosecuted."]]
South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011. Since last year, government troops and rebels have been engaged in bitter fighting with well over a 100,000 people displaced and atrocities being committed.