Newscast Media NEW YORK—The UN’s top humanitarian official has announced
evidence of mass atrocities by both sides in South Sudan’s conflict. A political dispute
that began in December has led to ethnic bloodshed and mass displacement.
Ivan Simonovic, UN assistant secretary-general for human rights, cited child soldiers,
mass killings, extrajudicial executions, arbitrary detentions and sexual violence in a
press conference on Friday as he wrapped up a four-day visit to the South Sudan.
He also called for a fact-finding commission to investigate the crimes and hold those
responsible accountable. Simonovic did not call the month-long fighting a civil war but
an “internal armed conflict” with ethnic dimensions between the Dinka and Nuer tribes.
“Quite a number of child soldiers have been recruited in the so-called White Army,” he
said, referring to a militia fighting in Jonglei state. “We are thoroughly investigating
According to the UN, 468,000 civilians have fled their homes as the violence spiraled
into ethnic killings between members of President Salva Kiir’s Dinka people – the
country’s largest group – and the Nuer community backing Riek Machar. UN officials
fear the conflict could lead to more than 100,000 refugees by the end of January.
“It is punishable not only to command and commit crime but to not prevent them
when you could and should have,” Simonovic said.
Kuol Manyang Juuk of Sudan told Reuters news agency that South Sudan had
requested help from its neighbor Uganda.
“We have requested support from Uganda,” Juuk said. “It is not a new situation,
countries seek support from other countries whenever they are in trouble.”
The two sides have attempted to negotiate a ceasefire deal at a luxury hotel in the
Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, but agreements have proved elusive. Rebel demands
include that Ugandan troops deployed in South Sudan stop supporting government
forces in combat.
On Friday, the European Union announced that it would provide 1.1 million euros ($1.4
million) to support the talks to stop South Sudan from “descending into a civil war.”
Source: Deutsche Welle