By Rebecca Andrew Kong,
March 08, 2016(Nyamilepedia) —- The conflict erupted in South Sudan in December 2013 due to the infighting between the government troops which has disproportionately affected women and girls in most areas in the country. The internal conflict has been the fiercest the young nation has ever known ever in its history. It has caused a huge devastation in terms of human lives and materials. The war has put the country into an unprecedented humanitarian crisis where it instigated a significant internal and external displacement of civilians, United Nations Protection of Civilians (PoCs) sites, under UNMISS in war affected regions nationwide, have sheltered over a million of internally displaced persons (IDPs).
According to NGOs’ reports, more than 50,000 people had been killed in the conflict; over 1.5 million people are internally displaced, about 746,000 South Sudanese are living in refugee camps in the neighboring countries and 2.5 million individuals are threatened of the starvation.
Although the conflict has affected all the population in the country, women and girls bear heaviest brunt of the ferocity of the violence because of the changes in the characteristic of warfare where the parties to the conflict target the non-combatants to humiliate and intimidate their presumed enemies. During this ongoing crisis, women and girls are made prime targets due to vulnerability and ethnic background as a result; they are insecure in villages as well as even in the United Nations Protection of Civilians sites (POCs). Many cases of flagrant violation of human rights are documented, including, murders, sexual abuse, torture, abduction and many more. Most of those females are still living under horrific fear and trauma for the heinous crimes carried out against their family members by their perpetrators. These acts of torture often take place before the very eyes of the victims’ families. Women are targeted as prey by their predators and are ruthlessly attacked on their way to fetch water or on their way to get some firewood.
Women and girls make up the vast majority of the internally displaced persons in UN camps where they live in very poor conditions, south Sudanese refugees in neighboring countries suffer the same fate of harsh living conditions. Most of those women sheltering in the camps are living alone with their children. Some have been made widows by war, and others are left by their husbands and sons who either volunteered or recruited to the warring armies. Nevertheless, the humanitarian situation and women’s security are critical challenges in the country. According to United Nations Population Fund UNFPA, 32 000 women and young girls are estimated to be at risk of sexual violence.
Therefore, the people of South Sudan, including women and girls have suffered enough and they need an immediate cessation of the cycle of hostilities. They also deserve to live in a stable environment and restore their dignity through lasting peace where they can have a hope for a life of normality, rooted in an environment of sustainable development.
The Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS) that was signed in August 2015 by the parties involved in the conflict should urgently be implemented to save lives. The Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoUN) should be established without delay to avoid grave consequences that could be the likely scenario of the continued suspension of its formation.
The government of South Sudan, SPLM in Opposition, Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), all peace loving nations and all parties involved in the peace implementation should work together to halt the culture of impunity and encourage rendering justice to prevail in the nation under auspices of the new Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoUN). Some mechanisms should be considered for reparation and compensation for women – victims of war – who have almost lost everything (their belongings, homes, husbands, sons and daughters) in the conflict. Some of inhuman acts committed during this war are amounting to the crimes against humanity. Hence those who are responsible must be held accountable in accordance with national and international standards so that reconciliation and healing will find a place in the hearts of those who have lost their loved ones.
Rebecca Andrew Kong is a South Sudanese citizen; holds a Master of laws, International Law with International Relation, Human Rights, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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