The Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan reported on Tuesday that the South Sudan government has taken no concrete steps toward national healing since the civil war ended in 2018, finding instead that government forces are fueling the conflict. The report reveals that government forces have used deliberate starvation as a war tactic to collectively punish non-aligning communities. South Sudan is now on the brink of famine.
“With 7.5 million South Sudanese currently requiring humanitarian assistance, we have found that food insecurity in Western Bahr el Ghazal, Jonglei, and Central Equatoria States is linked directly to the conflict and therefore almost entirely human-induced,” said the Commission Chair, Yasmin Sooka. “It is quite clear that both Government and opposition forces have deliberately used the starvation of civilians as a method of warfare in these states, sometimes as an instrument to punish non-aligning communities, as in the case of Jonglei.”
UN reports from January 2017 and December 2018 show that the government intentionally deprived Fertit and Luo communities living under occupation in Western Bahr el Ghazal State of “critical resources,” and created a dangerous environment for civilians, leaving people no choice but to flee. According to the Commission, the government’s gross human rights violations amount to widespread attacks against civilians, which constitute crimes against humanity under international law.
Commissioner Andrew Clapham said these systematic attacks have been ongoing for years, leading to mass deaths, rapes, destruction, arson and “looting of properties.”
The Commission continues to urge South Sudan to address its human rights crisis by committing to its 2018 peace agreement. The accord is one of many failed peace agreements since 2011 aimed at ending the war through transitional justice.
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