(AP) S Sudan: ‘Horrifying human rights disaster’
By ILYA GRIDNEFF
JUBA, South Sudan
The United Nations has evidence of the use of child soldiers and mass atrocities committed by both sides warring in South Sudan, a “horrifying human rights disaster” that has killed thousands, the U.N.’s top humanitarian official said Friday.
Mass killings, extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detentions and sexual violence are some of the other violations seen in the country, said U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic.
South Sudan’s conflict broke out Dec. 15 as a political dispute but quickly broke down along ethnic lines between followers of the president, an ethnic Dinka, and the former vice president, a Nuer.
The city of Bentiu _ one of the cities that have traded hands between government and rebel forces _ “simply did not exist anymore,” the U.N. official said. “It was completely burnt down.”
Simonovic told a news conference that he saw at least 15 dead bodies in Bentiu _ in the oil-rich state of Unity _ including one man’s arms bound behind his back.
Simonovic said an independent and impartial fact-finding commission should be established to investigate the crimes and make those responsible accountable.
Simonovic would not describe the month-long fighting as a civil war but an “internal armed conflict” with ethnic dimensions between the Dinka and Nuer tribes.
In terms of the number dead Simonovic said: “I would not like to be specific in how many thousands but we are talking many thousands.”