Press Release by United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zainab Hawa Bangura

 (New York, 18 February 2015)

I take note of the Communique on Preventing Conflict-Related Sexual Violence issued by Dr. Riek Machar on behalf of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Sudan People’s Liberation Army In Opposition on 18 December 2014.

I am pleased by the commitment expressed by the SPLM/SPLA In Opposition to issue clear orders prohibiting sexual violence through the chain of command, investigate alleged violations in a timely manner, and reinforce their military justice system to ensure accountability for sexual violence crimes. Crucially, the Communique also commits to facilitating the monitoring of sexual violence in the framework of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement, and ensuring that this issue is reflected in specific provisions of any peace agreement including those related to security arrangements and transitional justice mechanisms, and ensuring that those responsible for sexual violence are excluded from amnesty provisions. At the same time, I urge SPLM/SPLA In Opposition to grant safe and unfettered access for humanitarian agencies and service providers to areas under their control.

I encourage SPLM/SPLA In Opposition to translate these commitments into action in order to effectively protect women, children and men of South Sudan from sexual violence. I look forward to continued consultations with SPLM/SPLA In Opposition towards this end.