The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] reported [text, PDF] Thursday that “shocking crimes” have been committed by all sides in the war-torn South Sudan. The report said that extra-judicial killings, disappearances, gang-rapes, sexual slavery, forced abortions, and child recruitment have occurred within the area. The UN High Commissioner for HUman Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein stated [UN News Centre report]: “The constant attacks on women, the rape, enslavement and slaughter of innocents; the recruitment of thousands upon thousands of child soldiers; the deliberate displacement of vast numbers of people in such a harsh and poverty-stricken country—these are abhorrent practices that must be halted.” His office filed the report along with the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) [official website]. The country was thrown into turmoil when conflict erupted between the current President Salva Kiir and former vice president Riek Machar in December 2013. The conflict killed thousands and displaced more than 2.4 million people. Over the past year entire villages began to be burned down along with crops being destroyed and livestock being looted. This led to a report being requested in order to create accountability for the crisis to help end the strife.
In October the African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan concluded that both sides of the conflict have committed war crimes [JURIST report]. Although that report found no reasonable grounds that genocide was committed, the UNMISS reported [JURIST report] in 2014 that hundreds of civilians were targeted and massacred based on their ethnicity and political beliefs in two separate events. A UN peacekeeping site came under fire [Reuters report] in May of last year. Armed groups in South Sudan have also abducted young boys to use as child soldiers [JURIST report]. Civil war ensued after Kiir accused [JURIST report] Machar of attempting a coup d’etat.