UN’s Pramila investigates sexual violence cases among refugees, returnees
AUTHOR: Joseph Athian | PUBLISHED: September 6, 2023
Pramila Patten, United Nations Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict [second from left], in Wedwil, NBGS, on Wednesday, September 5, 2023 | Credit | Joseph Athian/Akol Yam FM
The United Nations Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict is meeting refugees and returnees in Wedwil to investigate allegations of sexual violence.
This comes after reports reached her Office in New York that refugees and returnees experienced sexual abuse in Sudan when they were fleeing the ongoing conflict.
Pramila Patten says upon arrival at the airstrip in Aweil that she will hear from refugees and returnees what they experience before returning to New York.
“I’m here to meet the refugees to try and get information before I return to New York and brief the UN Security Council on the situation out here. Also, any information from the deputy governor will really, really, be resourceful,” Ms Patten stated.
Patten disclosed that she will also meet the host community to find out if there are cases of sexual violence as they live with refugees.
Speaking at the same media briefing, the Northern Bahr el Ghazal State deputy governor said there are no cases of sexual violence reported when refugees and returnees arrived in the area.
“We have trained police that are working day and night to ensure that sexual violence and sexual exploitation doesn’t occur in our state,” Tong Lual told the reporters.
“So, it is the priority that we are taking care of so that women and girls are not exploited.”
The Sudanese conflict erupted in on April 15, 2023 in the capital, Khartoum, as a direct result of a vicious power struggle within the country’s military leadership
By August, the UN reported at least 220,000 refugees in South Sudan, 285,000 in Egypt, 75,000 people in Ethiopia, 17,000 in the Central African Republic, 414,000 in Chad, and 3,500 in Libya.
In recent discussion, witnesses of the Sudanese fighting among other things, expressed concern about reports of ongoing and worsening human rights violations in Sudan, including sexual violence against women and girls, targeted attacks on specific ethnic groups and on civilian infrastructure including hospitals, indiscriminate aerial raids, enforced disappearance, torture and ill-treatment and use of children in armed conflict.