Bishop of Worcester calls for action on sexual violence in South Sudan

On July 7th 2014, the Bishop of Worcester, the Rt Revd John Inge, received an answer to a written question on South Sudan.

WorcesterThe Lord Bishop of Worcester: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the prevalence of sexual violence in the conflict in South Sudan; whether they are planning to deploy suitable experts from the Stabilisation Unit to strengthen and support efforts in South Sudan to respond; and, if so, when.

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): We are deeply concerned by reports of human rights violations and abuses in South Sudan, including the widespread use of sexual violence. We fully support the work of the Africa Union Commission of Inquiry and echo the call in the recent UN Human Rights Council resolution for thorough and genuine investigations into all human rights violations and abuses and for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

The UK is funding a project with non-governmental organisation Non Violent Peaceforce to establish women’s protection teams in Northern Bahr El Ghazal. This project aims to tackle sexual violence in communities affected by insecurity around the border with Sudan by establishing and training women’s peacekeeping teams to work within communities. We continue to raise the issue of human rights, and of sexual violence specifically, with South Sudanese Ministers. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for Boston and Skegness (Mr Simmonds), discussed the issue with the Foreign Minister of South Sudan at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict on 11 June. Our Ambassador also raises these issues regularly with the Government of South Sudan.

There are currently no plans to send additional experts from the Stabilisation Unit to South Sudan. However, we keep all such plans under constant review.