Juba, 8 May 2014": The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has today released a public report on the gross violations of human rights and serious violations of international humanitarian law that have occurred since the conflict in the world’s newest nation began on 15 December 2013. The report, entitled “Conflict in South Sudan: A Human Rights Report”, follows and substantiates the interim report issued by UNMISS on 21 February.
The report describes the widespread negative impact that the conflict has had on the human rights situation in many parts of the country, following violations committed since violence erupted.
Based on thorough documentation and investigations, there are reasonable grounds to believe that gross violations of international human rights and humanitarian law have been committed by both parties to the conflict. Violations include extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, rape and other forms of sexual violence, arbitrary arrests and detention, targeted attacks against civilians, and attacks on hospitals as well as against UN facilities and the peacekeeping mission and its staff. In light of the widespread and systematic nature of many of these attacks, and information suggesting a degree of coordination and planning in some incidents, there are reasonable grounds to believe that certain crimes against humanity may have been committed, including murder, rape and other acts of sexual violence, enforced disappearance, and imprisonment.
These conclusions call for further investigations and UNMISS welcomes both national and regional initiatives along these lines. Such investigations must move quickly and lead to the arrest and prosecution of perpetrators. They must also be conducted independently and in a transparent manner consistent with international standards and principles.
“Accountability is critical to end the legacy of impunity in South Sudan and prevent similar atrocities in the future. There can be no reconciliation without accountability. We call for a credible peace process that will lead to national healing and reconciliation,” says Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General in South Sudan, Hilde F. Johnson.
In keeping with its human rights mandate, UNMISS will continue to investigate any future human rights violations. The calls for restraint and an end to the violence by the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon in South Sudan this Tuesday, must now be heeded.
The report, which includes seven recommendations to the parties to the conflict, the IGAD-mediation and the African Commission of Inquiry, is based on over 900 interviews with victims, witnesses, sources, Government and military officials, as well as visits to the sites of reported incidents.