South Sudan continues to be “plagued” by violence and corruption, the Human Rights Council heard on Thursday, jeopardizing the young nation’s efforts to establish lasting peace and put it on the road towards sustainable development.
Delivering an update to the forum in Geneva, Deputy UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Nada Al- Nashif, highlighted “staggering levels of localized violence”.
She attributed this to community-based militias who were responsible for almost all killings, injuries, abductions, and sexual violence between April and June this year.
According to the UN Mission in South Sudan, (UNMISS), the three-month period saw 585 people killed, 305 injured and thousands forcibly displaced throughout the country – particularly in Jonglei and the Greater Pibor Administrative Area.
Despite the many allegations of serious violations of human rights and humanitarian law, progress in the fight against impunity has been minimal, Ms. Al-Nashif said, before “strongly” encouraging the Government to work closely with local leaders to achieve peaceful conflict resolutions.
Also reporting to the Human Rights Council in Geneva, the chairperson of the Commission of Human Rights in South Sudan, Ms. Yasmin Sooka, underlined that since last March, the human rights situation in the country had deteriorated considerably and that a human rights crisis of “epic” proportions is unfolding in a dramatic way.
She noted that there has been an increase in extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances and torture as well as rape and conflict-related sexual violence.
The Government’s intolerance of criticism has also led to a brutal attack on fundamental freedoms and the suppression of dissent, using excessive force against civilians, she said.
According to Ms. Sooka, between June and August of this year, more than 100 civilians were killed in an ethnic conflict of Tambura in Western Equatoria. Between 80,000 and 120,000 people have reportedly been displaced by the conflict, with thousands fleeing to neighbouring Bahr el Ghazal state and Ezo County.