News / Africa

HRW Documents Ethnic Killings in S. Sudan

People displaced by the fighting in Bor county, stand by their belongings after arriving in the port of Minkaman, in Awerial county, Lakes state, in South Sudan, Jan. 14, 2014.
People displaced by the fighting in Bor county, stand by their belongings after arriving in the port of Minkaman, in Awerial county, Lakes state, in South Sudan, Jan. 14, 2014.

Multimedia

Audio
  • Listen to De Capua report on HRW findings on South Sudan

Joe DeCapua
A human rights group says appalling crimes have been committed against civilians in South Sudan for no other reason than their ethnicity. It’s calling on the U.N. to support an independent commission of inquiry to investigate alleged crimes.


Human Rights Watch began collecting reports of ethnic targeting shortly after fighting broke out in December between government and opposition forces.

“What we’re seeing, in part, is the reopening of old wounds and old scars that have really been ripped open in the past few weeks -- scars that were created by past atrocities during the long civil war in Sudan that were never adequately addressed -- either in peace negotiations -- or in the last few years when South Sudan became independent,” said Leslie Lefkow, the group’s deputy director of the Africa division.

Human Rights Watch focused primarily on Juba and Bor.

She said, “The patterns differ slightly. For example, in Juba, much of the violence was concentrated in the first few days after the conflict that started on December 15th. In Bor, civilians have been the victims of crossfire, of fighting that has swept through Bor because the town has changed hands several times in the last month.”

Lefkow gave an example of some of the group’s findings.

“We documented very serious crimes in Juba when Nuer men were being sought out in various neighborhoods by soldiers from the SPLA, who were going house to house and rounding-up and sometimes shooting Nuer men primarily based on their ethnicity.”

She said that Dinka have been targeted as well.

“In Akobo, for example, early on, the U.N. base was attacked and a number of Dinka individuals, who had gone there for shelter, were killed. The details of that attack still remain very unclear, but there’s no doubt that people were killed, partly at least, on the basis that they were Dinka,” she said.

Three U.N. peacekeepers from India were also killed in that attack.

Human Rights Watch also has documented cases of looting – not only of civilian property, but that owned by U.N. agencies.

“This can very long-term ramifications. It has serious implications for the ability of humanitarian aid agencies to operate in places -- for the WFP, the World Food Program  -- and other agencies, to distribute food when their vehicles and their warehouses have been looted. And civilians desperately need this assistance in the coming days and weeks given the massive scale of displacement that’s taken place,” Lefkow said.

More than 400,000 have been displaced within South Sudan and nearly 100,000 have fled to neighboring countries. U.N. and U.S. officials said thousands may have been killed since December.

The Human Rights Watch official says several key steps need to be taken. It calls on the leaders of both sides to issue orders against targeting civilians. Next, she says an international commission of inquiry should be set-up.

“This inquiry needs to be staffed by independent experts – people who have experience with South Sudan – with human rights investigation – with arms and munitions investigations – and forensic experience. And this kind of inquiry if done credibly and independently I think would be an important step towards the long-term healing, reconciliation and justice process,” she said.

Human Rights Watch said such a commission should report to both the African Union and the United Nations. Last month, the AU agreed a commission of inquiry should be established.

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: south sudanese from: US
January 21, 2014 7:16 PM
know your facts honey. A lot off criminal activities are going on in ss.


by: Tash from: Ambara
January 18, 2014 10:14 AM
They even mad, Children's, Elders & women plus 175 Dinkas who are Division 4 in Bentiu! Don't be bias UN/Human rights! Houses to killing is just makeup story. Why it not clear the Adobe UN camp attack? Which killed two Indian national (UN MISS officer) plus 37 Dinkas fishermen?
UN be impartial! We are SS who Love each others

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid