UN experts say S. Sudan on brink of catastrophe, urge sanctions

JUBA, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- South Sudan is on the menace of catastrophe amid deepening ethnic divisions and renewed armed forces recruitment, a three-member UN commission on human rights said Wednesday in the country, calling for sanctions.

Chairperson of the commission Yasmin Sooka told reporters in Juba, capital of South Sudan, at the end of a ten-day visit that there were disturbing indicators of a looming genocide if the international community failed to make efforts to prevent it.

"There is already a steady process of ethnic cleaning underway in several areas of South Sudan using starvation, gang rape and the burning of villages," Sooka said.

The human rights experts said other areas of the country that had been relatively unaffected by three years of civil conflict -- such as the Equatoria region -- were now seeing an emerging trend of armed groups, displacement based on ethnicity and looting.

The commission urged the international community to take immediate steps to avert mass blood by expediting the arrival of the 4,000 protection force authorized by the UN Security Council in August to boost the UN peacekeeping mission, impose targeted sanctions and implement an arms embargo on South Sudan.

Sooka also expressed disappointment with the African Union (AU) and the South Sudanese government for delaying the process of setting up a transitional justice system to try human rights violators.

She said the initial assessment indicated that armed groups in South Sudan had increased new recruitment in preparation for war during the dry season.

"Everywhere we went across this country we heard villagers saying they are ready to shed blood to get their land back. Many told us it already reached a point of no return," Sooka said.

During their mission, the commission members met government officials, civil society activists, diplomatic missions and visited displaced people in Juba, Bentiu and Wau.

They said victims of human rights abuses gave them terrible accounts of continued violence against civilians by armed groups.

South Sudan has been embroiled in civil conflict since December2013 following a political rivalry between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar. Tens of thousands of people have been killed and more than two million people displaced since then.

A peace deal signed in August last year led to the formation of a transitional unity government in April but was later shattered as fresh clashes erupted in the capital Juba in July between forces of the rival leaders.

The UN has on several occasions accused the warring parties in South Sudan of committing horrific human rights abuses. Enditem

[ Editor: 刘家铭 ]


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