During its informal consultations on 24 October 2018, the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 2206 (2015) concerning South Sudan was briefed by Pramila Patten, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict. Ms. Patten, whose predecessor last briefed the Committee in March 2017, noted inter alia that sexual violence remained rampant in South Sudan and was used as part of a strategy to degrade, shame and humiliate both the victims and communities, often along ethnic and/or political lines.
While she stated that her office had provided support to the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), the South Sudan National Police Service (SSNPS) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-in opposition (SPLA-IO) in the development of action plans to strengthen internal accountability and address sexual violence, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General reported that from January to September 2018, there had been a clear and alarming increase in the number of cases and victims of conflict-related sexual violence which had been documented in South Sudan, with the number of victims to date in 2018 the highest number recorded in the last three years.
In their reactions, those Committee members that took the floor characterized the elements conveyed by the Special Representative as appalling, chilling and gruesome. Several speakers emphasised the importance of accountability for those responsible for sexual violence and looked forward to receiving further information from the Special Representative, including the names of those with command responsibility for acts of sexual violence. For her part, the Special Representative noted that it was critical to address the root causes of the conflict and to invest more in understanding the culture of violence in the country.