United Nations, Feb 21: United Nations investigators denounced a raft of gross human rights violations being perpetrated in South Sudan, where over the past year, incidents of rape have surged and abductions, sexual slavery and brutal killings 'have become common.'
“There is a confirmed pattern of how combatants attack villages, plunder homes, take women as sexual slaves and then set homes alight, often with people in them,” Yasmin Sooka, Chair of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan said in Nairobi at the launch of the three-member expert-body’s third report.
“Rapes, gang rapes, sexual mutilation, abductions and sexual slavery, as well as killings, have become commonplace in South Sudan,” she continued. “There is no doubt that these crimes are persistent because impunity is so entrenched that every kind of norm is broken.”
While a lack of accountability during the country’s struggle for independence has helped to fuel the current conflict, the report stresses that sustainable peace requires tangible and credible accountability and justice.
“We do acknowledge the efforts of the Government to hold some perpetrators accountable for gross violations of human rights and serious violations of international humanitarian law,” Commissioner Andrew Clapham said in Geneva.
The Commission, set up in 2016 by the UN Human Rights Council, urged the Government, the region and the international community to “take urgent steps” to respect the cessation of hostilities, implement the Revitalised Agreement signed five months ago and “push to silence the guns completely.”
South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, has been mired in instability and conflict for nearly all seven years of its existence.
Earlier in 2018, President Salva Kiir and his former Vice-President and long-time political rival, Riek Machar, signed a new peace accord, and hopes have been high that the deal would finally end the crisis and deliver better and safer conditions for millions that have been left homeless and hungry. (UNI)