UN Report dennounces severe violations of Human Rights in South Sudan, affecting particularly women

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UN Report dennounces severe violations of Human Rights in South Sudan, affecting particularly women

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights has just published a new report on the serious situation affecting human rights in South Sudan. The report describes a multitude of horrendous human rights violations, including a Government-operated “scorched earth policy,” and deliberate targeting of civilians for killing, rape and pillage.

Although all parties to the conflict have committed patterns of serious and systematic violence against civilians since fighting broke out in December 2013, the report says state actors bore the greatest responsibility during 2015, given the weakening of opposition forces.

The scale of sexual violence is particularly shocking: in five months last year, from April to September 2015, the UN recorded more than 1,300 reports of rape in just one of South Sudan’s ten states, oil-rich Unity. Credible sources indicate groups allied to the Government are being allowed to rape women in lieu of wages but opposition groups and criminal gangs have also been preying on women and girls.

“The scale and types of sexual violence - primarily by Government SPLA forces and affiliated militia – are described in searing, devastating detail, as is the almost casual, yet calculated, attitude of those slaughtering civilians and destroying property and livelihoods,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra`ad Al Hussein.  “However, the quantity of rapes and gang-rapes described in the report must only be a snapshot of the real total. This is one of the most horrendous human rights situations in the world, with massive use of rape as an instrument of terror and weapon of war -- yet it has been more or less off the international radar.”

 The new report is the work of an assessment team sent by the High Commissioner to South Sudan from October 2015 to January 2016, in accordance with a resolution by the Human Rights Council in July 2015. It focuses primarily on the worst affected Unity and Upper Nile States, as well as Western and Central Equatoria, where the conflict has spread. While building on earlier reports of the African Union Commission of Inquiry and the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), the new reports places special emphasis on violations that took place during 2015. Click here to learn more.