The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk has expressed concerns over attacks on civilians and the surge in violence in South Sudan’s Upper Nile State, appealing to authorities and community leaders to act urgently to end the bloodshed.
At least 166 civilians have reportedly been killed and 237 injured in the last four months as clashes have intensified between armed elements, and between rival community-based militias in the region while more than 20,000 people have been displaced due to the violence since August.
“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 Türk.
He added, “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”.
Civilians have been subjected to forced displacement by the threat of violence, and the increased insecurity has slowed the 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,” stressed Türk.
The top UN official expressed concerns that the violence risked spreading beyond the region and urged the authorities to act swiftly to de-escalate the tension and to provide protection to the affected communities.
He further called on community leaders and elders to use their influence over the groups involved in the violence to end the bloodshed.
The UN recently convened a meeting with diplomats from the African Union (AU) and the international community to discuss the escalating crisis in Upper Nile State.
Source: Sudan Tribune