Following yesterday’s publication of new Amnesty International research on horrific atrocities amid the conflict in South Sudan, the United Nations has released its own comprehensive report echoing calls for accountability for all those responsible for crimes against humanity, war crimes and other serious violations.
The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) report came out just hours after Amnesty International released Nowhere Safe: Civilians Under Attack in South Sudan following a recent mission to the country.
“These reports document how individuals up and down the chain of command on both sides of the conflict have been responsible for perpetrating, ordering or acquiescing to a litany of grave abuses,” said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Eastern Africa.
Both reports document extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, rape and other acts of sexual violence, arbitrary arrests and detention, targeted attacks against civilians not taking part in hostilities, and attacks on hospitals, churches and humanitarian workers – including those from the UN.
“The consequences of the fighting in South Sudan have been utterly devastating for civilians, more than a million of whom have been displaced,” said Michelle Kagari.
Both reports argue that South Sudan’s long history of impunity for serious human rights violations has contributed to the cycle of violence. UNMISS and Amnesty International also note that the government has so far failed to demonstrate the will or capacity to conduct transparent and impartial investigations, publically release findings, and hold perpetrators accountable in open, accessible civilian courts and in fair trials. Robust international involvement will therefore be necessary to ensure that justice is done.
“Together, these reports give powerful and resounding evidence showing that urgent action is needed to ensure that all those responsible for atrocities in South Sudan are investigated and brought to justice. The authorities in the world’s youngest country must draw a line in the sand and send a message that such abuses will not be allowed to take place in future,” said Michelle Kagari.
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