There are growing calls for South Sudan authorities to come on board and tackle human trafficking. It’s a big concern for the East African nation, recently Kenyan President William Ruto warned about unfolding human rights abuses in Juba.
Meanwhile, the United Nations (UN) further called on the international community to support the peace process as the country prepares for elections due next year.
South Sudan, a country on the cusp of grave human rights violation, got its independence in 2011 and became one of the youngest states in the world. But abductions of women and girls have become a regular occurrence. One of the victims was abducted and purchased for 750 US Dollars.
“South Sudan is engulfed in communal or ethnic conflict, this conflict pit together armed militias one community against another, the government has been unable to provide protection and this has fallen on the youth where there are challenges, militias are armed, they abduct women and girls are trafficked. After South Sudan got independence there was a civil war broke out, this pit forces loyal to the president against his vice president, they armed ethnic groups and supported their causes,” says Peter Biar Ajak, Coordinator of South Sudan young leaders’ forum.
Children in South Sudan continue to be in grave danger and face a humanitarian crisis. 70% of children are out of school and disease and gender-based violence (GBV) are rife. And South Sudan government has been accused of not protecting its citizens.
“At the end, the national dialogue came up with one strong resolution that President Salva Kiir and Vice President, Riek Machar should exit, should leave power and retire from the politics of South Sudan during the common theme. We have not heard something like that from the region as we speak and this is no longer the surprise and President Salva Kiir is sick and he’s unable to govern the country, the country is disintegrating on his watch and next month AU summit will happen. It’s time for his peers to tell him that the time has come for the country to move forward, for him and Riek Machar to go and the country South Sudanese want to create,” says Peter Biar Ajak, coordinator of South Sudan young leaders forum.
Even the international community says the situation is bad in Juba.
“Sexual and gender-based violence for all girls of ages in South Sudan is relentless. The ongoing violence in Jonglei and other parts of South Sudan is quite extreme, we have seen abductions of girls who were forced into marriage and they kidnap women and girls, these are terrible incident,” says Yasmin Sooka, Chair of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan.
South Sudan government has yet to respond to these damning allegations but as the African Union summit is coming up next month in Ethiopia, this matter is likely to dominate on the side-lines of the annual gathering.