Quarterly human rights report documents overall decline in violence but concerning surge in harm caused to civilians in Western Equatoria
Juba, 21 December 2021: From July to September 2021, overall violence against civilians decreased by 37 percent with 801 civilians killed, injured, abducted or subjected to conflict-related sexual violence compared to 1271 in the same period last year, according to a new report released by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan.
This was largely due to a decline in conflict in Jonglei and the neighbouring Greater Pibor Administrative Area. Most of the violent incidents during this period (92%) were concentrated geographically in just 54 of the country’s 510 payams (administrative areas), most notably in the Equatorias and Warrap.
In this regard, the UNMISS Human Rights Division’s quarterly brief documented a surge of violence in Tambura, Western Equatoria, between Azande and Balanda militias, allegedly affiliated with conventional parties to the conflict which, according to its preliminary findings, resulted in 240 deaths, 46 abductions, 59 victims subjected to sexual violence and an estimated 80,000 people displaced. This is a serious and concerning development amidst an overall decline in such violence.
The violence against civilians by these perpetrators accounted for 44 percent of all victims documented across the country between July and September 2021. Other community-based militias and/or civil defence groups were the second largest category responsible for harming civilians (36%) compared to government forces and organized armed groups (16%) and actors engaged in opportunistic violence (3%).
Overall, most victims were men (69%), followed by women (17%) and children (14%). Almost 79 percent of male victims were killed or injured while women were more likely to suffer from sexual violence (47%). Children were primarily killed (54%) or abducted (39%) while at least eight girls were the victims of sexual violence.