Friday, March 11, 2016

South Sudan's Bloody Civil War

A United Nations reports that militias allied to the South Sudanese army have been allowed to rape women in lieu of wages during fighting against rebel forces. Army-affiliated militias, made up mainly of youths, raped and abducted women and girls essentially as a form of payment, under an agreement that allowed them to “do what you can and take what you can,” the UN team reported. The militias stole cattle and other property under the same understanding, the team said.

Investigators found that 1,300 women were raped last year in the oil-rich Unity state alone. The scale and type of sexual violence committed in South Sudan is the most horrendous human rights abuse in the world, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said. “This is one of the most horrendous human rights situations in the world, with massive use of rape as an instrument of terror and weapon of war, yet it has been more or less off the international radar,” Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, said in a statement.

The UN said government fighters abducted and gang-raped girls, and cut civilians to pieces. One woman said she had watched her 15-year-old daughter being raped by 10 soldiers after her husband was killed. The United Nations assessment team recorded gruesome accounts of civilians, including women and children, being hanged from trees, burned alive, shot and hacked to pieces with machetes. Churches, mosques and hospitals came under attack, the team said.

 “Crimes against humanity and war crimes have continued into 2015, and they have been predominantly perpetrated by the government,” David Marshall, the coordinator of a United Nations assessment team, said in an interview

Amnesty International says more than 60 men and boys were suffocated in a shipping container by government forces. Amnesty International said bodies of those suffocated were dumped in a field after they were killed last October in Leer Town, Unity State. Amnesty International reported that government soldiers arbitrarily arrested dozens of men and boys in the villages of Luale and Leer in October of last year. The men rounded up were students, traders and cattle keepers rather than fighters. They then forced them into unventilated shipping containers with their hands tied behind their backs. Witnesses told researchers they heard the detainees crying, screaming in distress and banging on the walls of the container while officials watched. "Dozens of people suffered a slow and agonizing death at the hands of government forces that should have been protecting them," said Lama Fakih, Amnesty International senior crisis adviser.

No comments: