The United States is committed to holding the perpetrators of sexual violence accountable, and to backing countries to deliver “the long overdue justice that the victims and survivors deserve,” said United States Representative to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield.
“Conflict-related sexual violence is prevalent around the world. Russian soldiers in Ukraine, gang members in Haiti, armed groups in Sudan, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are using gender-based violence, including sexual violence, to terrorize and control populations with impunity.”
Some of the most egregious crimes against humanity, particularly gender-based violence against women and girls, were committed by the ISIS terrorist group against Iraq’s Yezidi community. On Aug. 3, 2014, ISIS militants invaded the Yezidi homeland and began a reign of terror. They murdered the men and boys and took the women and girls as sex slaves. Yezidi women were raped degraded, tortured, and murdered, bought and sold like cattle.
On June 20, the U.S. Department of State designated two ISIS leaders as Specially Designated Global Terrorists, under Executive Order 13224. They are Arkan Ahmad ‘Abbas al-Matuti, also known as Abu Sarhan, a senior field military commander in the town of Wilayat al-Jazirah, and Nawaf Ahmad Alwan al-Rashidi, or Abu Faris, an ISIS financial manager and smuggler.
At the same time, the Department of State Department, and the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, designated, pursuant to Executive Order 13664, two high-ranking officials of South Sudan for their involvement in abductions of South Sudanese women and girls and conflict-related sexual violence.
James Nando is a Major General in South Sudan’s People’s Defense Forces. In 2021, forces loyal to Nando were responsible for at least 64 instances of rape and sexual slavery against civilians in Western Equatoria. In 2018, Nando was responsible for the abduction of hundreds of women and girls.
Also in 2018, forces under the command of Alfred Futuyo, currently the Governor of Western Equatoria, carried out numerous attacks there that resulted in the abduction of 887 civilians, of whom at least 43 were raped.
“The United States does not accept conflict-related sexual violence as an inevitable cost of armed conflict,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a written statement. “We remain committed to supporting survivor-centered and trauma-informed approaches to helping survivors access the services needed to help them recover and secure the justice they deserve.”