SOUTH SUDAN / HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

19-Feb-2021 00:04:35
Extreme violence and attacks involving thousands of fighters at a time have engulfed more than three-quarters of South Sudan, UN human Rights Council-appointed investigators said on Friday, warning that the bloodshed and exactions faced by civilians are “the worst recorded” since the country’s civil war began in December 2013. UNTV CH /WFP
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STORY: SOUTH SUDAN / HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
TRT: 4:36
SOURCE: UNTV CH /WFP
RESTRICTIONS: PLEASE CREDIT WFP ON SCREEN FOR BROLL
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 19 FEBRUARY 2021 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND /FILE
SHOTLIST
WFP - 2 JANUARY 2021, AKOBO, JONGLEI STATE, SOUTH SUDAN

1.Various shots, Nyal Chol eating with her children

UNTV – 19 FEBRUARY 2021 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

2.SOUNDBITE (English) Yasmin Sooka, Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan:
“On Monday, it will be one year since the formation of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity in South Sudan. While the signing of the Revitalized Peace Agreement has led to a reduction in hostilities at the national level for the second year in a row, South Sudan at the same time has witnessed a massive escalation in violence perpetrated at a localized level.”

WFP - 2 JANUARY 2021, NYANDIT, JONGLEI STATE, SOUTH SUDAN

3.Various shots, vehicle destroyed by floods

UNTV – 19 FEBRUARY 2021 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

4.SOUNDBITE (English) Yasmin Sooka, Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan:
“We have documented the new levels of militia violence engulfing more than three-quarters of the country at a localized level in which children carry weapons and women are traded as spoils of war like chattels.”

WFP - 5 FEBRUARY 2021, VERTET, PIBOR, JONGLEI STATE, SOUTH SUDAN

5.Various shots, mothers with children being tested for malnutrition

UNTV – 19 FEBRUARY 2021 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

6.SOUNDBITE (English) Yasmin Sooka, Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan:
“Levels of violence have already surpassed the levels documented in December 2013 when the civil war broke out in South Sudan.”

WFP - 5 FEBRUARY 2021, VERTET, JONGLEI STATE, SOUTH SUDAN

7.Med shot, old man in a tent

UNTV – 19 FEBRUARY 2021 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

8.SOUNDBITE (English) Yasmin Sooka, Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan:
“In Jonglei and the Greater Pibor area, homes have been systemically and deliberately torched, murders and forced displacements have been perpetrated, women and girls have been abducted, they have been raped and gang-raped, sexually enslaved and in some instances forcibly married off to their captors. Abducted boys have been forced to fight and, in some instances, forcibly assimilated into rival armed groups.”

WFP - 5 FEBRUARY 2021, VERTET, JONGLEI STATE, SOUTH SUDAN

9.Various shots, dead cattle, killed by floods

UNTV – 19 FEBRUARY 2021 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

10.SOUNDBITE (English) — Yasmin Sooka, Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan:
“The sheer number of fighters involved in these localized conflicts is also shocking: up to 50,000 fighters took part in one attack, in Padoi in Jonglei State and at least 15,000 fighters in an attack against Likuangole village, also in Jonglei State.”

WFP - 5 FEBRUARY 2021, VERTET, PIBOR, JONGLEI STATE, SOUTH SUDAN

11.Med shot, child sitting, being checked for malnutrition
12. Close up, malnutrition measuring tape on the child’s arm

UNTV – 19 FEBRUARY 2021 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

13. SOUNDBITE (English) Yasmin Sooka, Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan:
“Civilians describe combatants using new weapons which they had never seen before. One man told the Commission, ‘I went to Pibor town and I saw guns being sold there.’ There the black guns used by the NSS were being sold for 25,000 South Sudanese shillings, each less than a few hundred dollars. He also said that children all have guns.”

WFP - 6 FEBRUARY 2021, VERTET, PIBOR, JONGLEI STATE, SOUTH SUDAN

14. Various shots, WFP airdrop and people collecting food

UNTV – 19 FEBRUARY 2021 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

15. SOUNDBITE (English) Andrew Clapham, Member of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan:
“The level of State suppression and inability of civil society or journalists to operate is now completely different. There is sort of levels of fear and the State suppression and the fact that you can be picked up and tortured and killed is rather different.”

WFP - 2 JANUARY 2021, AKOBO, JONGLEI STATE, SOUTH SUDAN

16.Various shots, Nyal Chol preparing a meal for her children with WFP ration

UNTV – 19 FEBRUARY 2021 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

17. SOUNDBITE (English) Barney Afako, Member of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan:
“By signing the cessation of hostilities ceasefire, this left a vacuum in the communities because, because the parties of the conflict although they’d signed the agreement didn’t then go on to set up localized governments. There are no governors in place or no county commissioners in place. So, there is nobody to deal with those cleavages which had remained. Instead what we saw, was that the weaponry that have been left in the community as well as that which is now supplied by others fuelled this communal violence.”

WFP - 2 JANUARY 2021, AKOBO, JONGLEI STATE, SOUTH SUDAN

18.Various shots, Nyal Chol preparing a meal for her children with WFP ration
STORYLINE
Extreme violence and attacks involving thousands of fighters at a time have engulfed more than three-quarters of South Sudan, UN human Rights Council-appointed investigators said on Friday, warning that the bloodshed and exactions faced by civilians are “the worst recorded” since the country’s civil war began in December 2013.

Highlighting a continuing lack of local and national State infrastructure almost a year since the formation of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity in South Sudan, Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan Chairperson Yasmin Sooka noted that although the signing of the Revitalized Peace Agreement two years ago had “led to a reduction in hostilities at the national level”…the country seen “a massive escalation in violence” locally.

Echoing that finding, Commission member Barney Afako explained that signing the cessation of hostilities ceasefire had left “a vacuum” at community level. “Because the parties of the conflict, although they’d signed the agreement, didn’t then go on to set up localized governments. There are no governors in place or no county commissioners in place. So, there is nobody to deal with those cleavages which had remained. Instead what we saw, was that the weaponry that have been left in the community as well as that which is now supplied by others fuelled this communal violence.”

Other worrying developments include restrictions and self-censorship among journalists and pressure groups.

“The level of State suppression and inability of civil society or journalists to operate is now completely different,” said Commission member Andrew Clapham. “There is sort of levels of fear and the State suppression and the fact that you can be picked up and tortured and killed is rather different.”

In its latest report, the Commission describes “waves of attacks and reprisals” that have left hundreds of South Sudanese women, men and children dead, maimed or destitute in Jonglei State and the Greater Pibor Administrative Area.

Sooka told journalists via video conference that the armed groups and militias had mobilised along ethnic lines, often with the support of armed State and opposition forces.

She highlighted clashes between allied Dinka and Nuer militias and Murle pastoralist militias in central and southern Jonglei State and Greater Pibor Administrative Area between February and November 2020.

These involved massive violations against civilians including the killing and displacement of hundreds.

“We have documented the new levels of militia violence engulfing more than three-quarters of the country at a localized level in which children carry weapons and women are traded as spoils of war like chattels,” Sooka said, while highlighting the ready availability of weapons, which is indicative of outside assistance.

“Civilians describe combatants using new weapons which they had never seen before,” she said. “One man told the Commission, ‘I went to Pibor town and I saw guns being sold there. There the black guns used by the NSS were being sold for 25,000 South Sudanese shillings, each less than a few hundred dollars.’ He also said that children all have guns.”

The Commission Chairperson also described as “shocking” the extremely high number of fighters involved in the localized conflicts, with “up to 50,000” involved in one attack in Padoi in Jonglei State and at least 15,000 fighters in an attack against Likuangole village, also in Jonglei State”.

Women were traded as “spoils of war” and children carry weapons, Sooka continued, adding that levels of violence “have already surpassed (those) documented in December 2013”, when civil war erupted across South Sudan.

Describing further graphic attacks in Jonglei and the Greater Pibor area, she noted that homes were “systemically and deliberately torched, murders and forced displacements have been perpetrated, women and girls have been abducted, they have been raped and gang-raped, sexually enslaved and in some instances forcibly married off to their captors. Abducted boys have been forced to fight and, in some instances, forcibly assimilated into rival armed groups.”

These victims have had their ethnic and other identities “completely erased”, according to the Commission’s report, which noted that as of December 2020, hundreds of abductees were still missing, with hundreds of thousands displaced by the violence and recurrent flooding.

According to the World Food Programme (WFP) this year’s flash floods have affected more than one million people across eastern and central regions, submerging homes, farmlands and livestock.

The Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan is due to present its report to the Human Rights Council in Geneva on 10 March.
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