South Sudan

UN Warns Kiir Again On Ethnic Killings

website geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>South Sudan, symptoms which gained its independence from Sudan in July 2011, illness has been rocked by growing violence over the past 10 days that has displaced over 80,000 people, with some 45,000 taking refuge in the compounds of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

The conflict, sparked by an alleged coup attempt by loyalists of former vice president Riek Machar against the Government of President Salva Kiir, has been increasingly marked by ethnically targeted killings pitting the Dinka against the Lou Nuer.

“There is a palpable fear among civilians of both Dinka and Nuer backgrounds that they will be killed on the basis of their ethnicity,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in a news release.

“There need to be clear statements and clear steps from all those in positions of political and military control that human rights violations will not be tolerated and those responsible will be brought to justice.”

Mass extrajudicial killings, the targeting of individuals on the basis of their ethnicity and arbitrary detentions have been documented in recent days, Ms. Pillay noted.


“We have discovered a mass grave in Bentiu, in Unity state, and there are reportedly at least two other mass graves in Juba.”

She called on the leadership on both sides to protect civilians and refrain from instigating violence based on ethnic grounds.

The Special Advisers to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, and on the Responsibility to Protect, Jennifer Welsh, issued a joint statement today urging all parties to exercise restraint and comply with international humanitarian and human rights law.

In particular, they called on those with command responsibility to send clear messages to prevent attacks against individuals or groups based on ethnicity or tribal affiliation.

“Attacks of this kind can be the precursors to more widespread crimes,” they warned.

The Government of South Sudan has the responsibility to protect all South Sudanese populations, irrespective of their ethnicity or political affiliation, the UN officials stressed, while adding that international actors have a responsibility to assist in preventing further abuses.

The High Commissioner also voiced concern about the safety of those who have been arrested and are being held in unknown locations, including several hundred civilians who were reportedly arrested during house-to-house searches and from various hotels in Juba.

Hundreds of members of the South Sudan National Police Service were also reportedly ordered to be disarmed and arrested from police stations across Juba.

Ms. Pillay reiterated her call on the authorities to reveal the whereabouts of all those who have been detained, including political leaders, and to refrain from conducting further arbitrary detentions.

She urged all senior leaders, both within and outside the Government, to take immediate steps to prevent further human rights violations, and called on the international community to strengthen its efforts to assist in the protection of civilians and the UN presence, including through a strengthened UNMISS.

The Security Council is scheduled to vote later on a draft resolution strengthening UNMISS with an additional 5,500 troops and some 400 police, as well as additional assets such as attack and utility helicopters, as recommended by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

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