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JUBA - 26 Nov 2019

UNFPA urges elimination of sexual violence in South Sudan

Photo: Dr. Mary Otieno
Photo: Dr. Mary Otieno

Dr. Mary Otieno, the country representative of the United Nations Population agency (UNFPA) in South Sudan, has called for elimination of sexual violence, particularly rape.

Speaking at the launching of the 16 days of activism against Gender-Based Violence in Juba on Monday, Otieno said the UN Security Council (UNSC) now recognizes sexual violence as a deliberate tactic of war.

“Rape is rooted in a complex set of patriarchal belief, power and control that continue to create a social environment in which sexual violence is pervasive and normalized,” she said.

On global scale, Otieno said, one in every three women will experience physical or sexual violence, including rape in her lifetime. “Violence against women remains one of the most widespread human rights violations, yet one of the least prosecuted crimes,” she noted.

The senior UNFPA official, however, said that although equality between women and men is guaranteed in the constitutions of 139 countries and territories, all too often women are denied justice and protection from violence.

“This failure does not stem from lack of knowledge but rather a lack of investment and political will to meet women’s needs and protect their fundamental rights,” Otieno said.

She added, “It is time for us to join hands and support governments to take full responsibility”.

The UN official called for enactment of anti-gender based violence law in South Sudan by 2020 and establishment of specialized gender-based violence centers by 2021.

She also appealed to the government to allow unimpeded access to humanitarian actors to provide basic social service tools, including sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence to the crisis-affected populations.

Several representatives from the government, UN agencies, development partners, civil society organizations and the public attended the event held on the global theme: “Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands against Rape”.