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S. Sudan rights body says violations committed by both parties in conflict

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March 21, 2014 (JUBA) – A report released by the South Sudan Human Rights Commission (SSHRC) on human rights violations in the aftermath of the 15 December violence in the country, accuses both Salva Kiir’s government and rebel forces loyal to former vice-president Riek Machar of committing atrocities and “wide scale human rights violations” in the three-month-old conflict.

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An SPLA soldier walks away from a vehicle while on patrol in Juba on 21 December 2013 (Photo: Reuters)

The 13-page report, released on 18 March by the government institution, documents the commission’s findings and views on the human rights situation associated with the conflict.

It confirms that targeted ethnic violence occurred between members of the Dinka tribe to which Kiir belongs and Machar’s Nuer tribe.

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Interim report on South Sudan internal conflict, December 15, 2013 - March 15, 2014

SSHRC says the report was based on observations and eyewitness accounts, as well as analysis of reports from other national and international human rights agencies.

The document concedes that government troops initiated the massacre of hundreds of members of the Nuer ethnic group in Juba on 16 December, during which soldiers went on a rampage searching for Nuer civilians in their houses, a turning point in which political violence erupted in ethnic targeting.

The report put the death toll in Juba in the first three days of the conflict at 600, mainly from the Nuer ethnic group.

The report also found that rebel forces carried out revenge killings against the Dinka ethnic group in other states, including Jonglei, Upper Nile, Unity and Warrap.

It has indicated that over 2,000 people from the Dinka ethnic group were killed by the rebels in Bor, the Jonglei state capital, following the Juba massacre, with a further several hundred people killed by rebel forces in various incidents in the other states, although the report stops short of putting a figure on the number of victims similarly killed in other areas.

ETHNIC DIMENSION WORRYING

Although the report blames the crisis on political disputes within the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), it confirms the tribal had taken on tribal dimensions.

“Whatsoever the cause, reason or justification, the present conflict has rekindled and inflamed ethnic and tribal sentiments to a certain extent to xenophobic levels, particularly amongst the numerically big tribes, the Nuer and the Dinka,” the report partly reads.

“Though consistently denied and rejected by politicians, leaders and propagandists of both sides of the conflict, this is reality the commission has noted to be occurring on the ground,” it adds.

The national human rights body has warned of looming genocide in the country unless the conflict is quickly resolved.

“It is this ethnic dimension of the conflict which is most worrying and if not resolved could lead to national calamity with genocide - a possibility given the fact that both the Nuer and Dinka are large groups with heavily armed groups,” the report reads.

LOCAL MEDIA ACCUSED

The report also notes that South Sudan’s government had been engaged in intimidation and harassment towards local media in and apparent bid to silence journalists, which authorities accuse of supporting Machar-led rebels.

“Media freedoms and freedom of speech have been scaled down. For example, talks-show programs on Miraya FM (UN radio based in Juba) on issues connected to human rights, governance, rule of law and other social issues have been voluntarily suspended,” it says.

“The relationship between the government and some local media houses has also deteriorated with the government accusing them of incitement and promoting the image of the rebels in their broadcasts,” it added.

The document signed by the chairperson of the commission, Lawrence Korbandy, and presented to the Juba parliament for consideration calls for a “full and effective inquiry into the violations” and to hold those found to be responsible to account.

The commission also called on both sides in the conflict and the international community to ensure respect and protection of human rights, and to resolve the conflict through peaceful political means.

South Sudan’s deadly conflict first erupted after clashes broke out between rival factions of the presidential guards in Juba when the president ordered the disarmament of Nuer soldiers in the guards division, triggering the subsequent violence.

Kiir however, said he was responding to an alleged coup plot by his former long-time deputy, saying Machar instigated the violence in order to get rid of his political opponents within the ruling party.Machar and his supporters deny the allegations.

Machar has maintained that he was forced into “armed resistance”, accusing president Kiir of “dictatorial tendencies” and calling on him to step down.

Over 10,000 people have reportedly been killed and nearly a million displaced since violence erupted, according to UN estimates.

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 22 March 07:53, by Ankh

    The Tiger battalion/ Republican guards/ doot ku bany that Kiir created are the same people who knocked door to door searching for Nuer to slaughter. Kiir needs lawyers.

    repondre message

    • 22 March 08:22, by Kiir

      I ave agreed to the mentioned 2000 killed in Bor. Uganda troops 1500 was killed in Mangala included to Dinka, government troops killed 450 nuer in Bor included to Dinka plus 50 Dinka killed in greater upper Nile. The number of nuer who was killed in Juba was 6000 but he fear to tell the truth while he is in Juba. he can be kill like Mr. Isaiah. I really appreciate the report.

      repondre message

    • 22 March 13:59, by Rami Tot

      first of all who is this right body?
      this is there tribal government of Bhar elgahzal thugs

      repondre message

      • 22 March 14:09, by Rami Tot

        those crimes committed in Juba will not be covered
        like this while the world was watching it properly and the thugs will not able to draw the report of human right watch.

        repondre message

  • 22 March 07:53, by Mi diit

    Korbandy and his group are bias. How come they talk of only 600 Nuer Killed when thousands were cowardly murdered in cold blood in Juba alone for two months. And he exaggerated the killings in Bor as over 2,000. This is incompetent Kiir’s human rights report. It is bias!

    repondre message

  • 22 March 19:52, by Thokidine

    This is a complete bais report favouring one side. In other international Human right watch, they report 20’000-35,000 nuer being murdered in Juba frm day 16 till today dead bodies of Nuer are being found n this report goes contrar impasizing only on Dinka who were killed in Great Upper Nile. Away with this fake report. We know hw many were killed whether they are reported or not, we will reveng

    repondre message

  • 22 March 19:56, by Thokidine

    Revenge them n oust this tribal n corrupt gov’t. Keep praying ur small goddess (Uganda) for if they leave, u knw what will follow n I am quite sure Dinka will move with them.

    repondre message

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