Home | News    Wednesday 16 August 2017

UN rights official decries absence of accountability in S. Sudan

August 15, 2017 (WAU) – Lack of accountability for the various crimes perpetrated during the ongoing conflict in South Sudan remains one of the biggest challenges the country faces, Eugene Nindorera, the United Nations human rights boss, said.

IDPs shelter near the UNMISS base in Wau (IOM/Gonzalez 2016)

The senior UN official made the remarks while speaking at the end of a five-day visit to South Sudan’s Wau state, where violence in April led to the death of 19 pro-government soldiers and at least 28 civilians, according to state officials.

The killing of civilians in Wau town followed the ambush and killing of soldiers by suspected to be armed opposition fighters.

The UN human rights division reportedly interviewed 43 individuals, including eight women and two children, from 11 April, to collect information about alleged human rights violations perpetrated by government forces and aligned armed groups in Wau town on 10 April.

“I can confirm that, as of Sunday, nobody is being detained in connection with this attack against civilians,” said Nindorera.

“I talked to victims and witnesses and was shaken to hear their testimonies of how they had to flee their houses after being attacked. It’s more important than ever before that people are held accountable for crimes they have committed,” he added.

Nindorera said he met the Governor of Wau, during which the latter said a committee was established to produce a comprehensive report to determine the motive for the attacks and identify the perpetrators in to hold them accountable.

“I welcome this move,” he said, adding “I encourage Governor Andrea Mayar Acho to exert his authority to ensure that people are held responsible for the crimes they have committed.”

Meanwhile, UNMISS has confirmed that by Thursday the protection of civilians site adjacent to the UNMISS base in Wau had registered some 17,000 new arrivals, mainly women and children, while around 5,000 people had sought sanctuary inside the compound of the Wau Catholic Church.

The influx of newly displaced people has reportedly led to over-crowding and pressure on humanitarian services.

The South Sudanese civil war is a conflict in between forces of the government and the armed opposition forces. In December 2013, President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar of attempting a coup d’état. Since then, tens of thousands of people have been killed and nearly two million displaced in the country’s worst-ever violence after it seceded from Sudan.