Prevalent sexual violence against females in areas of conflict has been powered by systemic impunity, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in South-Sudan said on Monday.
“Rapes carried out during attacks on villages were systematic and widespread,” the 48-page report said.
According to the report, the attacks were not random opportunistic incidents, but were perpetrated by all armed groups across the country that actively hunted down women and girls.
“Sexual violence in South Sudan has been instrumentalised as a reward and entitlement for youth and men participating in conflict. It serves as a means of building ethnic solidarity to mete out retribution against perceived enemies,” it said.
While presenting the report in Geneva on Monday, Commission chair Yasmin Sooka said: “It is outrageous and completely unacceptable that women’s bodies are systematically used on this scale as the spoils of war. Urgent and demonstrable action by authorities is long overdue, and South Sudanese men must stop regarding the female body as ‘territory’ to be owned, controlled and exploited.”
Barney Afako, a member of the Commission, said it was scandalous that senior officials implicated in violence against women and girls, including cabinet ministers and governors, were not immediately removed from office and held accountable.
The government has not officially responded to the report.