This article was last updated on May 26, 2022
The Human Rights Watch report released today after interviewing more than 200 victims and witnesses between December 27 and January 12, 2014, shows gross abuses against civilians were committed in Juba, Bor and other affected places based on their ethnical belonging.
Daniel Bakele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch in a press statement dated 16 January 2014 said: “Appalling crimes have been committed against civilians for no other reason than their ethnicity.”
“Widespread killings of Nuer men by members of South Sudanese armed forces in Juba, especially between December 15 and 19, including a massacre of between 200 and 300 men in the Gudele neighborhood occurred on December 16. Researchers also documented the targeting and killing of civilians of Dinka ethnicity by opposition forces in other parts of the country,” the Human Rights Watch statement explains.
The rights body also accused both government and rebel forces of looting of medical and humanitarian facilities, some government officials’ denials of flight authorization to areas where people are in desperate need of aid and destruction of civilian property which have contributed to the displacement of more than 400,000 people according to UN.
The report urges the government and leaders of opposition forces to ensure unhindered access for humanitarian assistance to displaced and other civilians in need and protection and also respect medical and humanitarian facilities, material and staff, as required by international law.
The right organisation urges South Sudan’s leaders, the African Union (AU) and the United Nations to support an independent, credible, international commission of inquiry to investigate all alleged crimes since the conflict erupted.
According the Human Rights Watch a travel ban and assets of credibly anyone identified for serious abuses and violations of international human rights and humanitarian law should be frozen on.
“The South Sudanese and the international community should show that we have learned the lesson history has taught us that without justice and reconciliation, residual pain from gross violations and other crimes are all too easily abused by those seeking power at any cost,” Bekele said.
The rights body welcomed the AU’s call for an international commission of inquiry, saying such commission should be fully resourced and supported by United Nations and concerned governments.
President Salva Kiir in his Christmas message acknowledged the occurrence of ethnic targeting and killings in Juba, saying those responsible would be punished.
On December 28, South Sudan’s Inspector General of Police General Pieng Deng Kuol established a five-member committee of policemen to investigate allegations of killings of civilians and reports of people dragged into one of the police stations in Juba and were murdered inside the cells.
The fighting for the control of Malakal between the government and the forces loyal to Riek Machar is still rages on according to a resident in Paloch county, Upper Nile state.