South Sudan: Bloodshed And Brutality – A Land Without Peace

The bloodshed, debauchery, and havoc girth by the Sudanese civilian war, with the April 16th to May 24th period witnessing a significant escalation in the use of violence against civilians, inks another gory chapter into the South Sudanese war. Gender-based violence, ignorant of age, has been utilized as a fore-runner tactic in brutalizing women and girls, and to that end breaking their human spirit. As highlighted by Peter Beaumont, writing for The Guardian, the Unity state was the target during the recent ambush.

Reactions of high level officials, as enunciated by UN News, encapsulated the move towards engagement with transitional justice processes, which entails holding perpetrators accountable and to end the war, which begun in 2013. Of particular significance are the words of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights as this call for justice was born from his sensibilities.

Turning to the issue of violence and the focused employment of gender-based violence in the Sudanese War, it is purported that stronger protectionary measures ought to be implemented to safeguard the security of women and children in the region, and in particular the Unity State. As per official statistics, it is estimated that 120 women and children experienced sexual violence, with 232 civilians reported to have been slaughtered. The cases of sexual violence are brutal and extreme, with the reported gang-rape of a five year old and that of a woman a few days post-childbirth. These statistics in itself demonstrate that the current response of UN Mission in South Sudan may not be adequate enough as it does not specifically focus its efforts on protecting the most vulnerable, that being women, children and people with disabilities. While I am not arguing that men are not vulnerable in such times, it is also fact that females are the core targets.

Following onward, Monica Pinna in Euronew’s article “Rape as a weapon of war: Women in South Sudan speak out” discusses that mass displacement has come to fore due to the war. Pinna further enunciates that violence endured by South Sudanese women during non-war times is double that of what women experience globally. From this, a consequential link between the severity of violence may be ascertained during wartime and may be ascertained. The point here is that the supposed culture of brutality towards women should itself serve as red flags which ought to inform the imposition of stricter safeguards to protect the vulnerable. In my view, it is our responsibility as the international community to do the very best that we can for those that are voiceless and exposed to harm during times of war. Moving forward and toward the ultimate utopia of peace for South Sudan, it is important that women are provided with a means to empower themselves, whether through re-skilling or educational programs, post-war.

Yet, all is not lost, however dismal this phrase may sound. While peacekeepers have been deployed to relevant areas, stronger involvement from the international community, could ameliorate peace and security concerns in the region. Such a claim is mere conjecture. However, given that key international bodies have pinpointed the Sudanese government as the culprits by catalyzing and enabling the brutality, possibly a stronger western scrutiny, through damage to reputation, may force those in power to rethink engaging in such debauchery. Ultimately, regional peace and security remains highly unstable and volatile.

Nat Kumar