[Juba, South Sudan, TCT] –Eight foreign heads of mission in South Sudan firmly voiced their commitment to progress in ending discrimination and violation against women and girls rights in the world’s newest nation.
The eight heads of mission who issued a strong communique on gender base violence on the occassion observing international women day in South Sudan include Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark, the French Republic, Japan, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Kingdom of Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America
The foreign envoys in a joint statement said many women in the country experience rape, gang rape, sexual assault, physical assault and forced or early marriage including abductions and trafficking in life.
The joint statement further noted that, as the conflict in South Sudan enters its fifth year, women are increasingly serving as peacemakers, channeling their strengths to focus on reconciliation, economic development, education, and transitional justice.
“In order to make progress on ending the conflict across the country and to end violence and discrimination against women, girls must be properly educated,” the communique read.
According to the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism (CTSAMM) and human rights bodies, cases of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) have reached alarming rates throughout the country.
“Female literacy rates in South Sudan are less than 20 percent and nearly three quarters of girls aged 6 to 11 are not in school. Extreme poverty, hunger, insecurity, and gender inequality have prevented girls from joining the classroom,” it added.
The communique however declined to expose perpetrators of this gross human right abuse.
Late last month, the United Nations Mission in the country (UNMISS) impounded 46 Ghanaian peacekeepers serving in the UN protection of civilians site in Wau, accusing them of taking part in the sexual misconduct and sexually exploiting women and girls.
UNMISS said any act of sexual exploitation undermines its critical work and compromises its credibility with the people of South Sudan.
Fingers have been simultaneously pointed in several occasions at the warring parties and other estranged groups, accusing them of carrying out massive rights violations.