Rape being used extensively as a weapon of war in South Sudan

Juba, SOUTH SUDAN, 7 July 2016 - The use of rape as a weapon of war in South Sudan has become widespread and often goes unreported, aid agency CARE International has warned.

South Sudan marks its fifth year of independence on Saturday, 9th July, but celebrations will be overshadowed by a two-year long conflict that has left 5.1 million people in dire need of humanitarian assistance.

“We are witnessing a situation of quiet horror,” said Fred McCray, Country Director of CARE in South Sudan.

“The death toll and the use of rape as a weapon of war have been horrific and not sufficiently documented or highlighted.”

Mr McCray said women had been disproportionately affected by the conflict.

“The use of rape and the deliberate targeting of women during the conflict has been extensive,” he said.

A recent UN Population Fund survey found one-in-five displaced women in South Sudan had been raped during the conflict.

In a separate survey of Bentiu, a town in the country’s north, 23 per cent of households said they had experienced a sexual assault in the past five years. Some 87 per cent of these incidents occurred in 2015.

To combat the growing rates of violence against women, CARE is calling for more opportunities for women to be part of South Sudan’s rebuilding process.

“We firmly believe that women are the key to recovery and peace in South Sudan. The conflict has set women’s empowerment back and they are still struggling to catch up and move forward,” Mr McCray said.

“Evidence from throughout the world shows that the meaningful participation of women in political decision-making and the economy lead to healthier, more peaceful and productive nations.”

CARE has been working in southern Sudan since 1993, most recently providing assistance in health, nutrition, food security and livelihoods, peace building and gender-based violence prevention. CARE currently works in Upper Nile, Unity, Jonglei and Eastern Equatoria. 

Media contact:

Laura Gilmour, News editor/ Press officer (Programme and Policy) +442070916063, gilmour@careinternational.org 

Twitter: @carepressuk

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