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UN experts call for investigation into high levels of sexual violence in South Sudan

Sexual violence has reached “epic proportions” in the conflict in South Sudan, a group of UN experts said on Friday while urging the establishment of a special investigative team.

“The scale of gang rape of civilian women as well as the horrendous nature of the rapes by armed men belonging to all groups is utterly repugnant and what’s worse is that there is no sense of outrage about this horror,” Yasmin Sooka, the chairperson of the UN independent Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan, said in a statement issued Friday.

The Commission, who have just ended a ten-day visit during which they met women survivors around the country, said that the situation requires urgent attention of the world.

In the capital Juba, the experts said, a UN survey found 70 percent of women in Juba had suffered sexual assault since December 2013.

“There was justifiable uproar when international humanitarian workers were gang raped in July in the capital Juba but this is happening to South Sudanese women on a daily basis and the world is just averting its eyes,” they noted in the statement.

Urging the Government of South Sudan and those in control of opposition territories to give UN investigators unfettered access to all areas of the country, the experts said that all commanders at every level have an affirmative responsibility to prevent and punish rape and other sexual violence.

© Alleastafrica and Xinhua

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