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Oye! News from Africa

Human Rights Violators ‘Must Be Punished’: Vice President

South Sudan Vice President James Wani Igga called for massive creation of awareness to the citizens on human rights issues. [Gurtong | File]South Sudan Vice President James Wani Igga called for massive creation of awareness to the citizens on human rights issues. [Gurtong | File]Wani also called for massive creation of awareness to the citizens on human rights issues.

Igga was speaking in a human right workshop convened in Juba yesterday that brought representatives of human rights defenders both activists, and national and State government officials in Juba.

“Anybody proven must be punished,” Igga said.

“The beginning point for human right is actually education. It is sensitizing the public by all the stakeholders whether being the violators,” Igga added.

He stressed the need for wider human right sensitization nationwide in an effort to make the citizens understand what the human rights are.

He however, challenged human rights activists of being controversial in their judgments on matters of human rights violations in the country.

Though he said “our problem is punishment” – referring to weaknesses by law enforcers on how to execute the law on the abusers “but the same human right activists when our laws punish some one to death they say no you are killing people for nothing. Human rights are not supposed to be spoiled,” Igga challenged.

Advocate Lawrence Korbandi, the Chairperson of the South Sudan Human Rights Commission said that the forum was aimed at laying down issues of human rights on table and how best they can be addressed.

Abuse of human rights in South Sudan according to activists the situation is dare. Since independence the government is being accused of failure to curb the situation.

In August, a top South Sudan army general was arrested over human rights violations committed in the restless Jonglei State.

Last week, the Human Right Watch accused South Sudan’s army of unlawfully killing almost 100 members of the Murle ethnic group and committing other serious violations against civilians in the context of a counterinsurgency campaign.

The 45-page report entitled: “They are Killing Us: Abuses Giants Civilians in South Sudan’s Pibor County, “documents 24 incidents of unlawful killings of almost 100 members of the Murle ethnic group between December 2012 and July 2013, constituting serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.

The report also describes how the South Sudan’s army, SPLA burned and looted homes, physically and verbally abused civilians, and destroyed schools, churches, and the compounds of aid agencies providing life-saving assistance.

According to the HRW, a series of unlawful killings, including of women, children, and people with mental illnesses have caused widespread terror among the Murle, exacerbating the perception that they are being targeted as an ethnic group.

It said the incidents occurred against a backdrop of a conflict between South Sudan’s army and a Murle rebel group. Soldiers and specially trained “auxiliary” police in Pibor county of Jonglei state unlawfully killed more than 70 Murle civilians and up to 24 ethnic Murle members of the security forces, in serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.

HRW acknowledged the government’s arrest of its soldiers for human rights abuses in Pibor County and have taken some steps to provide accountability but called for more to end the abuses, provide redress, and ensure that the army protects, rather than harms, the Murle population.

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