South Sudan – UN Rights Chief Appeals for End to ‘Senseless Violence’ in Upper Nile State

Perpetrators behind deadly violence in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state must be brought to justice, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, said on Wednesday.

In a statement, Mr. Türk said he was appalled by attacks against civilians by armed elements amid a surge in violence, urging the authorities and community leaders to act urgently to end the bloodshed.

Over the past four months, at least 166 civilians have been killed, and 237 injured, as clashes have intensified between armed elements, and between rival community-based militias.

Prompt, impartial investigation

“These killings, along with reports of gender-based violence, abductions, destruction of property and looting, are severe human rights violations and abuses and must stop,” said Mr. Türk.

“It is important that the Government of South Sudan conducts a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation into the violence and brings all those responsible to account in accordance with international law,” he added.

Prompt, impartial investigation

“These killings, along with reports of gender-based violence, abductions, destruction of property and looting, are severe human rights violations and abuses and must stop,” said Mr. Türk.

“It is important that the Government of South Sudan conducts a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation into the violence and brings all those responsible to account in accordance with international law,” he added.

The fighting has also displaced over 20,000 people, and the increased insecurity has hampered delivery of urgent, life-saving humanitarian support.

“I urge those perpetuating this senseless violence to lay down their weapons and to engage in dialogue to address any grievance peacefully,” said Mr. Türk.

Violence risks spreading

The human rights chief also expressed serious concern that the violence risked spreading beyond the region, and he urged the authorities to act swiftly to de-escalate tensions and to provide protection to affected communities.

He also called on community leaders and elders to use their influence over the groups involved in the violence.

Combat human trafficking

Meanwhile, an independent UN human rights expert has called for South Sudan to step up efforts to prevent human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation, forced labour, and child marriage and recruitment.

Siobhán Mullaly, Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, concluded a 10-day visit to the country on Wednesday.

“At this junction of peacebuilding and state building in South Sudan, urgent action to prevent trafficking in persons, and to protect survivors, especially women and children, is crucial,” she said in a statement.

“Conflict-related sexual violence including trafficking, remains a serious concern,” she added. “There is a need for continued attention to the risks faced by children associated with armed groups and armed forces, including of conflict-related sexual violence and trafficking.”

End gender-based violence

Ms. Mullaly welcomed constructive engagement and dialogue with the authorities during her visit, which included high-level meetings with Government Ministers and law enforcement bodies.

She also met with a range of survivors and victims of trafficking, and with sex workers, feminist activists, women leaders, community leaders, and lawyers.

The Special Rapporteur stressed the need to continue to prioritize ending sexual and gender-based violence, as well as child and forced marriage, and to promote women’s empowerment and participation in peacebuilding and state-building processes.

Role of UN Rapporteurs

Special Rapporteurs like Ms. Mullaly receive their mandates from the UN Human Rights Council, which is based in Geneva.

These rights experts monitor and report on specific country situations or thematic issues.

They are independent of any government or organization, operate in their individual capacity, and are neither UN staff nor are they paid for their work.

Source:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *