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Since gaining independence from Sudan in 2011, South Sudan continues to be the scene of civil war characterized by mass violence against civilians, despite the country’s 2015 ratification of the Convention against Torture. Perpetrators of serious human rights violations committed during the armed conflict enjoy impunity, there are no credible investigations into crimes under international law, or prosecutions of those suspected of criminal responsibility for such violations. Despite the peace agreement signed between Sudan and South Sudan, government forces and armed groups clash sporadically, threatening the lives of thousands of civilians and perpetrating massive violations of international humanitarian law including indiscriminate attacks, recruitment and use of children, and acts of sexual violence.
Children are particularly affected. Their use in combat and supportive roles as porters, cooks and spies make them subject to many forms of violence including killings, rape, and abduction. Schools are taken over for military purposes, preventing children from accessing education. Acts of sexual violence are massively committed as a tactic of war, to target members of a different ethnic group. Government opponents and critics, including journalists and human rights defenders, are often arbitrarily detained in harsh conditions, without charge of prospect of a trial and subjected to torture in detention.