South Sudan’s vice-president in the unity government has issued an order to his party prohibiting conflict-related sexual violence.
Rape and other forms of sexual violence by all parties in South Sudan’s civil war have become widespread in recent years, leaving thousands battling mental distress and stigma, according to human rights groups.
In September 2018, President Salva Kiir and several opposition groups, including key opposition leader Machar signed a peace deal to end the conflict.
“All members of the SPLM/SPLA-IO are hereby reminded that engaging or condoning acts of CRSV, such as rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution, forced pregnancy, forced abortion, forced sterilization, forced marriage, , and any form of sexual violence of comparable gravity, are prohibited” an order by Machar states.
The order, which went into immediate effect last Sunday, directs all members of the SPLA-IO group to report all cases of sexual violence committed by soldiers within their ranks through the existing chain of command.
Commanders are charged with ensuring that all troops under their command refrain from such prohibited acts, according to the order.
Failure to respect the command order, Machar said, will attract immediate disciplinary measures including both administrative and judicial.
The opposition leader reiterated his movement’s commitment to addressing impunity for crimes of sexual violence.