[JURIST] Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] on Thursday released [press release] a report [text] detailing the crimes against humanity that have been fueled by South Sudan's conflict. The report, entitled "Nowhere Safe: Civilians Under Attack in South Sudan," documents the ethnically-motivated violence that has led to the targeted killing and sexual assault of civilians. Homes have been looted and burnt down, and many medical, religious, and humanitarian facilities have been completely destroyed. "Civilians have been massacred in the very places where they sought refuge. Children and pregnant women have been raped, and old and infirm people shot dead in hospital beds," said Michelle Kagari, AI's Deputy Regional Director for Eastern Africa. "Forces on both sides have shown total disregard for the most fundamental principles of international human rights and humanitarian law."
South Sudan [JURIST backgrounder] has been criticized for its human rights abuses since becoming an independent nation, and the domestic conflict is characterized by severe ethnic and sectarian violence. Pillay's most recent visit was prompted by a rebel attack [JURIST report] on an oil hub that killed hundreds and a separate assault by rivals on a UN base. In an article published in February, JURIST guest columnist Kevin Cope of Georgetown University Law Center argues [JURIST op-ed] that constitutional structure may have a larger impact on the crisis in South Sudan than members of the international community realize. In January Human Rights Watch called for [JURIST report] an international commission of inquiry among leaders from South Sudan, the African Union and the UN to investigate targeted attacks on civilians based on ethnicity in South Sudan.