The recent announcement made by the South Sudan’s transitional unity government to establish long-awaited transitional justice mechanisms addressing violations committed during conflict (including widespread sexual and gender-based crimes used as a tactic of war) represents a positive step towards the implementation of the 2018 Peace Agreement and the recognition of the victims’ rights to justice, truth and reparations.

The Mukwege Foundation (MF), a human rights organisation working side by side with survivors of conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) and dedicated to ending CRSV, strongly believes that only when survivors of sexual violence are treated with dignity by the State can there be meaningful justice and an end to impunity and violence.

As the South Sudanese authorities set in place a Hybrid Court with the African Union, a Commission for Truth, Reconciliation, and Healing, as well as a Compensation and Reparation Authority, MF is calling for voices of survivors of CRSV to be heard at all stages of an inclusive process based on broad national consultations; survivors’ rights, needs and aspirations shall be prioritized and placed at the center of the work of these transitional justice bodies.

To this end, MF considers access to quality holistic and affordable care for survivors and support to survivor movements and organisations as prerequisites for genuine survivor-centred transitional justice.

The implementation of the Peace Agreement’s provisions on transitional justice is a pivotal moment for the South Sudanese people in their quest for peace and justice, and MF hopes this will contribute not only to breaking cycles of impunity and violence but also to reducing the severe stigmatisation victims of CRSV currently face in South Sudan. It also represents an opportunity to strengthen mechanisms of protection for victims, witnesses, and human rights defenders.

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