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S Sudan’s human rights violators remain unpunished – UN commission

S Sudan’s human rights violators remain unpunished – UN commission
Yasmin Sooka, chair of the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan | Credit | UN

Violators of crimes in South Sudan have remained unpunished, which is a violation of human rights imposing high state of impunity, a United Nations report has said.

In a report extended to The Radio Community, the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan mentions that without tackling impunity, South Sudan will not reduce persistent violence and horrific human rights violations and abuses against its citizens.

Senior government officials and military officers have been associated in serious human rights violations, according to the UN report.

“Over several years, our findings have consistently shown that impunity for serious crimes is a central driver of violence and misery faced by civilians in South Sudan,” says Yasmin Sooka, chair of the commission.

“So, we have taken the step of naming more of the individuals who warrant criminal investigation and prosecution for their role in gross human rights violations.”

In the report, widespread attacks against civilians, including killings, rape, sexual slavery and other forms of sexual violence, as well as mass displacement, in multiple states are some of the offenses committed which have remained unpunished.

‘’Despite the Government of South Sudan announcing special investigation committees into several situations, not one has led to any form of accountability. Government and military personnel implicated in these serious crimes remain in office’’, the statement reads.

The report identifies Unity State Governor Joseph Monytuil and Lieutenant General Thoi Chany Reat of the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces as among the individuals warranting criminal investigation in relation to State-sanctioned extrajudicial killings carried out in Mayom in August 2022.

Koch County Commissioner Gordon Koang is among the individuals identified as being responsible for leading widespread attacks against civilians in Leer in February and April 2022.

The Commission’s findings also identify other individuals warranting further scrutiny or investigation in relation to human rights violations in Warrap State, Upper Nile State, northern parts of Jonglei State, and the Equatoria states.

“Once again, hundreds of South Sudanese shared with our Commission their experiences of being subjected to a range of human rights violations. Their suffering is immense. The State continues to fail in its duty to protect civilians, and to ensure accountability for violations,” says Commissioner Andrew Clapham.

“We call upon the authorities to properly investigate alleged perpetrators of serious crimes, no matter their rank or office, and to establish and strengthen the justice mechanisms for holding them accountable.”

Entitled “State of impunity: the persistence of violence and human rights violations in South Sudan,” the 114-page report of the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan is based upon its investigations in six states of South Sudan and in the neighboring region over the last 12 months.