- Title: UN warns South Sudan is on the brink of genocide
- Date: 2nd December 2016
- Summary: MALAKAL, SOUTH SUDAN (FILE) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF GOVERNMENT SOLDIERS STANDING BY ARMOURED VEHICLE WITH FIREARMS
- Embargoed: 17th December 2016 15:25
- Location: NAIROBI, KENYA/MALAKAL, AND JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN
- City: NAIROBI, KENYA/MALAKAL, AND JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN
- Country: South Sudan
- Reuters ID: LVA0025B6V39J
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Ethnic cleansing is taking place in some areas of South Sudan and the stage is set for a repeat of the Rwandan genocide, the head of the U.N. commission of human rights in South Sudan said on Friday (December 2) at the end of a 10-day visit.
According to the commission, more than 1.1 million South Sudanese have fled the country and 1.8 million have been uprooted, most recently in the Equatoria (southern South Sudan) regions, where houses are being torched and people being displaced based on ethnicity.
"Displacement along tribal lines is being orchestrated through killing, rape, looting and burning of homes," Yasmin Sooka, the head of the commission said.
The three-person U.N. commission was set up in March this year to monitor and report on the situation of human rights in South Sudan and make recommendations for its improvement.
According to Sooka, the level of sexual violence has reached epic proportions and both government and rebel forces have committed serious abuse to women.
"The scale of gang rape of civilian women as well as the horrendous nature of the rapes by armed men belonging to all groups is utterly repugnant and what is worse is that there is no sense of outrage about this horror," she said.
U.N. commission also paid attention to the urgent need of courts to prosecute human rights abuses.
It said large parts of the country literally had no functioning courts and even the traditional reconciliation methods were breaking down.
"Now you have a number of instruments both at the African Union, at the regional level as well as at the international level, which deals with conflict-related sexual violence. So we think that it is really imperative for all of this different people, who in fact have the mandate to do so, that we should get them together to talk about what kind of emergency action can be taken," Sooka said.
South Sudan has spent most of its short history mired in civil war. It became independent in 2011 but rivalry between the president and his deputy erupted into war in 2013.
They signed a shaky peace deal last year, but fighting and attacks on civilians continue.
More than one million people have fled South Sudan since the conflict erupted, the largest mass exodus of any conflict in central Africa since the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
Over 4,000 a day have been crossing into Uganda since August now hosting 188,000 while another 36,600 refugees have reached Ethiopia since early September, and over 57,000 fled to Congo this year.
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