Target: Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of South Sudan
Goal: Stop rape and unnecessary violence in South Sudan
Rape and civil war are running rampant in the deserts of South Sudan, due to political conflict between government opposition forces. Attacks on civilians, often due to their ethnicity, have sparked an outbreak of rapes, sexual assaults and deadly conflict near communities in Juba, Bentiu, and Bor.
After starting with roundups of ethnic Neur peoples in Juba, the conflict has snowballed into a series of vengeful counterattacks on other ethnic communities, like the Dinka people, forcing more than 86,000 to flee to nearby, often overcrowded United Nations bases. These attacks have plunged the country into a dire humanitarian and human rights crisis, with young women and girls being raped and assaulted at alarming rates.
Witnesses and victims have revealed to Human Rights Watch that soldiers are to blame for the massive number of gang rapes and abuses in South Sudan. One woman recounted how she was driving a motorcycle when Sudanese soldiers attacked her engine with rocks, causing it to stop working. They then abused and raped her and dropped her off in a remote desert town. A witness also told Human Rights Watch of a gang rape that occurred in a nearby home, where soldiers unlawfully searched the premises for ethnic people and abducted three girls. Government soldiers were also blamed for raping women in relatively public settings and even urinating in the victims’ mouths.
The violence has spiraled into unnecessary attacks against foreign aid workers, establishments and even United Nations bases where displaced Neur and Dinka people have been flooding the refugee camps. Security forces in the towns of Bentiu, Bor and Juba have even shot at, bullied and arrested women at UN camps during periods of relative calm.
Rape incites incredible stigma in South Sudan, where girls and women are encouraged to not speak of being raped or report rapes to the authorities. So far, more than 80 cases of rapes by opposition and government forces have been reported to Human Rights Watch, with many more undocumented cases hanging in the balance.
The livelihoods of these women and young girls are under threat and the President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit, should be doing more to protect them from further abuse. Sign the petition to encourage Mayardit to stop opposition and government forces from carrying out rapes and abuses against innocent women.
Dear President Salva Kiir Mayardit,
An outbreak of rape and torture is threatening the welfare of women in the communities of Juba, Bentiu, and Bor. What started out as a useless mission to exterminate ethnic peoples like the Neur and Dinka, has spiraled out of control and initiated the gang rape, torture and abduction of thousands of women and young girls.
These forces have even taken to attacking and assaulting women on UN bases, which are supposed to be safe havens. Other women have fled to desert areas where they face famine and drastic food shortages. Some cannot even find a drop of water to drink.
It is up to you, the president of South Sudan, to serve and protect your people. And yet, countless numbers of them live in fear and loathing as their communities are attacked by rowdy, lawless soldiers, their homes destroyed and their peace of mind compromised. Too many crimes against humanity have taken place already. I urge you to end this senseless war and free the women and children of South Sudan from the pains of prejudice and cruelty of armed forces.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Steve Evans via wikimedia