January 25, 2021 (JUBA) – The South Korean government has donated $400,000 to help in the fight against sexual and gender-based violence (GBV) among women and girls in South Sudan.
- Women advocates say serious shortcomings in Sudanese laws contribute to the lack of protection for victims of sexual violence in Sudan (UN)
The donation, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said in a statement, will be used to further support its response to GBV as contained in the South Sudan Humanitarian Response Plan.
“Sexual and gender-based violence remains one of the prevalent human rights issues in South Sudan, emanating from the protracted armed conflict, where the use of sexual violence and the brutalization of women and girls have been well documented,” the statement reads in part.
It added, “In displacement settings, threats and risks of GBV against women and girls persist particularly sexual violence, growing levels of intimate partner violence, sexual exploitation, harassment, and early and forced marriage.”
In the first three quarters of 2020, UNFPA said, the GBV Information Management System reported more than 6,000 cases of GBV, where 97 percent of the survivors were women and girls.
“UNFPA, in partnership with the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare and the Ministry of Health and with support from donors such as the Government of South Korea, supports the response to and prevention of GBV in South Sudan through various approaches,” the agency noted.
“These include the establishment of 10 women and girls friendly spaces that provide access to social support, skills training, safe and non-stigmatizing multi-sectoral GBV response services, and information on issues relating to the health and rights of women and girls affected by the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan,” it added.
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in South Sudan, UNFPA said it supported setting up the national GBV hotline 623, which provides round the clock access to GBV survivors to call in and seek psychosocial first aid, referrals, and legal guidance.
“UNFPA also supports over 200 health facilities across the country to provide medical treatment for survivors of sexual violence, including the provision of post-rape treatment kits,” said UNFPA.
“In 2020, UNFPA distributed more than 50,000 dignity kits to women and girls affected by the humanitarian crisis to ensure that they continue to have access to basic hygiene needs such as sanitary pads and underwear,” it stressed.
According to the Penal Code of South Sudan, whoever commits an offense of rape upon conviction shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years and may also be liable to a fine.