UN human rights official talks of "horror" in South Sudan

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Ivan Šimonović

The conflict in South Sudan has turned into a horrifying humanitarian and human rights disaster, according to a senior United Nations human rights official.

UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Ivan Šimonović concluded a five-day visit to the country on Friday.

He says mass atrocities have been committed by both sides with thousands of people killed and hundreds of thousands of others displaced.

Mr. Šimonović says he has seen horrifying scenes in Bentiu, the capital of South Sudan's Unity State.

"Bentui is a ghost town. That town had 40,000 inhabitants. We didn't find a single civilian in the town. Everything is burnt down and looted. When we were driving through the streets, not looking in houses and elsewhere, just by the roads, we could see about 15 to 20 decomposing bodies, just by the streets, some of them being obviously civilians or being tied before being killed." (29")

The UN human rights official says accountability is necessary and is calling for the establishment of an independent and impartial fact-finding commission as quickly as possible.

He stresses that those who committed or ordered the perpetration of what he calls "terrible crimes" or did nothing to prevent them while they were in a position to do so, should be held accountable.

Daniel Dickinson, United Nations.

Duration: 1’29″

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