Human rights violators in South Sudan must face consequences

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Over 9,000 displaced people seeking a safe place to stay have moved into the church compound in Wau, South Sudan. Photo: UNICEF/UN027524/Ohanesian

Those who commit atrocity crimes in South Sudan must be held accountable, UN Assistant Secretary-General for human rights Andrew Gilmour has said.

Mr Gilmour on Friday completed a four-day visit to the country where ongoing fighting between government and opposition forces has left tens of thousands dead and displaced millions, despite a 2015 peace agreement.

A UN report last year documented horrendous violations during the conflict, including sexual violence and pillaging.

Dianne Penn reports.

Mr Gilmour met with authorities in the capital, Juba, where he raised concerns about the country's "unspeakable" human rights situation.

He has issued a statement calling for those responsible to be brought to justice.

"This is a war that has been waged against the men, women and children of South Sudan," he said, adding that "the only way of ending this onslaught will be when the perpetrators face consequences for what they are doing."

Mr Gilmour also held talks with the Chief of General Staff of the army, the SPLA, during which he emphasized the severe access restrictions faced by the UN mission in the country, UNMISS, in trying to protect civilians or provide humanitarian aid.

He also stressed his concern that some elements in the army had engaged in what could well amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

On the other hand, Mr Gilmour also welcomed the recent start of UN human rights training for the SPLA as well as the appointment of army focal points on conflict-related sexual violence.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1'09"

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