UNMISS engages with opposition forces in Nyara cantonment site to prevent gender-based violence

Here in Nyara, we don’t rape, we are organized. We are for the peace agreement and we will implement it, confirmed Major General Benjamin John Batista, deputy sector commander of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition.

Command orders issued by Riek Machar, chairperson of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition, were issued on 3 February 2019. The orders directed all forces of the party to desist from engaging in or condoning acts of rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution, coerced pregnancy, and non-consensual marriage, as these are crimes punishable by international humanitarian and human rights laws.

The Human Rights Division of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan operating in Eastern Equatoria used a workshop to remind the more than 2,000 troops at Nyara cantonment site not to commit any kind of sexual violence through awareness workshops or meetings in the Military barracks and cantonment sites.

The commanders are to ensure that the troops under them refrain from committing acts of sexual violence, cautioned Denis Chenwi, a human rights officer serving with the peacekeeping mission.

Where commanders fail to take action against perpetrators of sexual violence, disciplinary and administrative measures have to be taken, Chenwi added.

During the identification of cantonment sites, it was agreed that forces of the South Sudan Opposition Alliance and Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition within the region will assemble in the same cantonment site until all forces are unified as one army under the new government of national unity.

We [South Sudan Opposition Alliance] and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army forces in the region live peacefully together in Nyara, said Major General Ceasar Oromo Urbano, commander of South Sudan Opposition Alliance West of Torit.

Disunity among forces in different cantonment sites and a lack of food are some of the challenges on the ground. Commanders overseeing the sites disagree over leadership.

Officers at Nyara, for instance, claim that their cantonment site has a higher number of registered opposition forces than the sites of Irube, Lowareng and Ashwa, also in the region. However, they claim that they are given the least quantity of food supplies.

If we are to live together with the more than 2,000 soldiers plus the eight hundred who are unregistered, we will need more food, said Brigadier General Koboss Milton, administrative officer for the South Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition in Nyara.

Similar human rights trainings are scheduled to be conducted at other cantonment sites in the Eastern Equatoria region.

Source: UN Mission in South Sudan