Violence against civilians in South Sudan reduced significantly in 2021

17 Feb 2022

Violence against civilians in South Sudan reduced significantly in 2021

Juba, 17 February 2022: Violence against civilians saw a 42 per cent reduction in 2021 compared with the previous year according to a new report released by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

The UNMISS Human Rights Division’s annual brief on violence affecting civilians documented 3,414 civilian victims subjected to killing, injury, abduction, and conflict-related sexual violence in 982 documented incidents. Most of the victims were men (75 per cent), followed by women (14 per cent) and children (11 per cent). In 2020, the Mission reported 5,850 civilian victims. Cases of conflict-related sexual violence declined slightly from 211 in 2020 to 194 to 2021 but remained unacceptably high.

Subnational conflict accounted for most victims in 2021. Warrap remained the state with the highest number of civilian casualties (24 per cent), followed by Western Equatoria (19 per cent), and Jonglei and Greater Pibor Administrative Area (GPAA) (17 per cent respectively).

Many of the victims were killed or injured during attacks by armed community-based militias across Jonglei and the GPPA. In May 2021, violence surged with at least 230 killed, 120 injured, 178 abducted, and 14 women subject to conflict-related sexual violence.

A concerning surge of fighting was also documented in Tambura, Western Equatoria, between ethnic militias who are allegedly affiliated with conventional parties to the conflict. Such violence resulted in 440 deaths, 18 injured, 74 abductions, 64 victims of sexual violence and an estimated 80,000 people displaced.

UNMISS deployed peacekeepers proactively as well as pre-emptively to conflict hotspots and conflict areas. The Mission established 116 temporary operating bases last year which enhanced the protection of civilians through sustained long and short distance patrols. Concurrently, the Mission engaged in political and community consultations at the local, state and national level as well as adopted a Humanitarian-Development-Peace nexus approach.

UNMISS urges the Government of South Sudan to investigate human rights violations and abuses, and to hold all perpetrators accountable, particularly as violence continues to surge in several parts of the country.

Contact: UNMISS Spokesperson, Linda Tom at or