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UN human rights experts call for justice on war perpetrators in S. Sudan

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December 24, 2017, 2017 (JUBA) – Gross human rights violations have continued to be committed in a widespread way by all parties involved in the South Sudanese conflict, a top United Nations said.

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The headquarters of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva

The UN commission for human right chairperson, Yasmon Sooka made the remarks at the end of a 12-day visit to the war-torn nation.

“The Commission welcomes yesterday’s [Thursday] announcement made at the High Level Revitalization Forum of the Inter-Governmental Authority (IGAD) of a cessation of hostilities agreement yet remains gravely concerned over the lack of accountability for serious crimes which is fuelling impunity throughout the country,” said Sooka.

“Those responsible for this war against civilians must be stopped with the perpetrators of these horrific acts brought to justice,” she added.

Sooka and fellow Commissioner, Andrew Clapham visited eastern Ethiopia and northern Uganda between 11-22 December, meeting numerous victims of the conflict who shared harrowing accounts of indiscriminate attacks, revenge killings, torture, abduction of women and children, forced displacement, looting and burning of homes and crops, starvation, rape and other forms of sexual violence.

The commissioners decried violence in South Sudan, a country where food insecurity is acute; crops are destroyed leaving villages starving.

“We are deeply disturbed by what we witnessed and heard throughout our visit. The deprivation and range of sexual violence are hard to describe, people are targeted and suffering just for being who they are. The atrocities and violations are no longer just confined to a few parts of South Sudan; they are happening all across South Sudan,” said Clapham.

The commissioners visited South Sudan’s Wau state, Bor and Akobo and visited Protection of Civilian (PoC) sites in Juba and Wau where individuals and families have sought protection from the violence and are provided the essentials of daily life by non-governmental organizations and humanitarian agencies. The commissioners also met with camp leaders, elders women and youth representatives.

Many of the women the Commissioner met reportedly narrated how they were sexually abused when their homes were attacked, often when they were collecting firewood. The Commission also heard of young men who were gang raped, often in front of family members.

The commissioners, the UN said in a statement, were told that young men have been forced to rape relatives in front of family members.

“Those perpetrating these crimes seem to be intent on breaking all social norms resulting in societies being torn apart,” Sooka stated.

“Civilians in South Sudan have become a football between the warring parties causing them to flee. They have lost everything. All they want is to be able to send their children to school, tend to their crops, feed themselves and live in peace,” she further added.

The UN human rights commissioners also met with humanitarians who spoke of the heightened insecurity around their work, including the restrictions on access to several parts of the country obstructing humanitarian aid to those who need it most.

The commissioners also held meetings with various government officials, UN staff, members of the diplomatic community, members of the national dialogue for South Sudan, and the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (JMEC), responsible for monitoring and overseeing the implementation of the August 2015 peace accord.

Meanwhile, the commission is scheduled to report to the Human Rights Council with its detailed findings in March next year.

(ST)

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  • 28 December 2017 05:53, by Joseph Canada

    The bad eggs in South Sudan should be eliminated. UN should stand by their words and give punishment where its due.

    repondre message

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