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UN peace chief briefs Security Council on developing humanitarian crisis in South Sudan

[JURIST] In a briefing before the UN Security Council [official website], Assistant Secretary-General for UN Peacekeeping Operations Edmond Mulet [UN News Centre report] discussed the ongoing humanitarian crisis in South Sudan, describing it as a "man-made crisis," [press release] putting South Sudan on the "brink of a humanitarian catastrophe and a protracted internal conflict." The briefing covers a report [PDF] issued by the UN Secretary-General [official website] in July discussing South Sudan's political developments, as well as its security and humanitarian crises. The report expounds upon findings made in the UN Mission in South Sudan's (UNMISS) [official website] report, issued in May [JURIST report]. Mulet urged both sides to reach an agreement on how to end the conflict, and to hold accountable those responsible for human rights violations from both the South Sudanese Government and the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) [JURIST news archive].

South Sudan [JURIST backgrounder] has been criticized for its human rights abuses since becoming an independent nation, and the recent domestic conflict has been characterized by severe ethnic and sectarian violence. In May Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] released a report detailing the crimes against humanity [JURIST report] that have been fueled by South Sudan's conflict. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official website] visited the country in April following 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 argued [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 (HRW) [advocacy website] called for the establishment of an international commission of inquiry [JURIST report] among leaders from South Sudan, the African Union and the UN to investigate targeted attacks on civilians based on ethnicity in South Sudan.

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