Rights group criticizes UN peacekeepers in South Sudan for failing to protect civilians
Rights group criticizes UN peacekeepers in South Sudan for failing to protect civilians

The Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) [advocacy website] criticized [press release] UN peacekeepers in South Sudan Wednesday for their failure to protect civilians during an outbreak of fighting in the country that took place in July. The report [text, PDF] released by the human rights group describes how the parties to the conflict, “killed and injured civilians in displaced persons camps with indiscriminate gun and artillery fire, committed widespread sexual violence against women who left those camps in search of food, and attacked international and national aid workers in a hotel and apartment complex.” The report states that the UN Mission in South Sudan [official website] peacekeepers were unable or unwilling to leave their bases to protect civilians outside and at times even underperformed in protecting the 37,000 civilians sheltered on its bases. CIVIC called for “decisive action” to ensure that this type of failure does not happen again.

Last month the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan [official website] concluded [press release] its first visit to South Sudan and expressed concern regarding the ongoing pattern of human rights violations [JURIST report] in South Sudan. Earlier in September South Sudan officials stated [JURIST report] they would take legal action against US advocacy group The Sentry after the group accused the nation’s leaders of profiting from the country’s three-year conflict. Also last month the government consented [JURIST report] to the addition of another 4,000 UN peacekeeping troops to the existing force of 14,000 soldiers, under intense pressure from the UN, US and the rest of the international community. In August UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said that South Sudan government security forces have killed and raped citizens [JURIST report] and looted and destroyed public and private property. In July Chaloka Beyani, UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs), condemned recent attacks on IDPs and civilians [JURIST report] in South Sudan.