Children ‘forced to watch rape’ in South Sudan


Women from more than forty South Sudanese womens organizations carry placards as march through the city to express the frustration and suffering that women and children face in Juba, South Sudan on December 9, 2017.Image copyright

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In December women from South Sudanese rights groups marched in protest at the suffering women and children face

Children in South Sudan have been forced to watch their mothers being raped and killed, the UN says.

A report by UN human rights investigators says that 40 officials may be individually responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

It says civilians have been tortured and mutilated, and villages destroyed on an industrial scale.

Conflict between government factions has continued in South Sudan despite a peace deal signed in 2015.

Of the 40 senior officials identified as potentially responsible for atrocities, five are colonels and three are state governors.

The UN says the testimony gathered from survivors is “devastating”, including some people being forced to rape family members “in cases reminiscent of Bosnia“.

One woman said her 12-year-old son was forced to have sex with his grandmother, in order to stay alive. The same woman also saw her husband being castrated.

Another man saw his companion, a man, gang raped and left for dead in the bushes.

“Sexual violence against men in South Sudan is far more extensive than documented”, says the head of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan, Yasmin Sook.

“What we see so far is likely just the tip of the iceberg.”

Another survivor, a pregnant woman in Lainya County, says she saw suspected opposition supporters being detained, tortured and then decapitated by SPLA fighters.

She was kept with the victims’ decomposing bodies. One of them was her husband’s.

The UN investigators are collecting evidence for use in future war crimes trials, and the report will be presented to the UN human Rights Council in Geneva.

But the court has still not been set up because South Sudan’s parliament has not yet approved it.

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