In early January 2017, fighting in and around Yambio in Western Equatoria resulted in a further displacement of at least 7,000 civilians, mostly women and children.
GENEVA, Switzerland, January 16, 2017 -A UN report published today details the grave human rights violations and abuses – including killings and gang rapes – as well as serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in Juba during and after the fighting that occurred between 8 and 12 July 2016. Six months after the violence there remains widespread impunity, as violations continue unabated.
The report by the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the UN Human Rights Office found that throughout the fighting between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition (SPLM/A-IO), “the belligerents blatantly ignored international human rights law and humanitarian law.”
The July 2016 events in Juba demonstrated the extremely fragile political and security situation in South Sudan and the complete disregard of civilians by the SPLA and SPLM/A-IO, given the serious human rights violations and abuses that were perpetrated, including the direct targeting of civilians, along ethnic lines and the extreme violence against women and children, the report states.
“Information documented and verified by the Human Rights Division suggests that hundreds of people including civilians were killed and many more wounded during the fighting in various areas of Juba,” the report states. “Moreover, UNMISS documented 217 victims of rape, including gang-rape committed by SPLA, SPLM/A-IO and other armed groups during and after the fighting between 8 and 25 July. According to victims’ testimonies and witnesses’ accounts, most cases of sexual violence were committed by SPLA soldiers, police officers and members of the National Security Services (NSS).”
Testimony from victims interviewed by the Human Rights Division paints a horrifying picture of the violence that civilians were subjected to during the fighting. On one occasion, women and girls were ordered to cook for the soldiers at checkpoints when their friends or family members were raped. According to other testimony, Nuer men and women appeared to have been particularly targeted for attacks, including killings and arrests, during house-to-house searches, with Nuers with tribal markings on their foreheads particularly vulnerable. The whereabouts of some of those arrested remain unknown.
“The fighting that erupted in July 2016 was a serious setback for peace in South Sudan and showed just how volatile the situation in the country is, with civilians living under the risk of mass atrocities,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said.
“In total, a staggering 1.38 million South Sudanese have fled to other countries and another 1.8 million are displaced in their own country. In the absence of any semblance of justice and accountability for the violations perpetrated – including possible war crimes – such unbridled outbursts of violence could quickly escalate civilians will continue to suffer immensely. Concrete steps to halt this downward spiral must be urgently taken, beginning with justice and accountability.”
The report emphasizes the need for accountability and justice for all human rights violations. It urges the Transitional Government of National Unity to take action to “break the cycle of violence and impunity” and take steps to fully support the prompt establishment and operationalization of the Hybrid Court for South Sudan by the African Union. The report also recommends that the State ensure that all victims of human rights violations and abuses, as well as violations of international humanitarian law, have access to an effective remedy, just and fair reparation, including compensation and rehabilitation.
The human rights situation remains grave in South Sudan. In Greater Equatoria, the UN Human Rights Office has received credible reports of serious human rights violations and abuses committed by SPLA and SPLM/A-IO in and around Yei, including killings, sexual violence, abductions and destruction of civilian property. As a result, thousands of civilians have fled Yei and surrounding towns. They have sought refuge in other regions and in neighboring countries. In early January 2017, fighting in and around Yambio in Western Equatoria resulted in a further displacement of at least 7,000 civilians, mostly women and children.
High Commissioner Zeid reminded the Government of its obligation to protect the rights of all South Sudanese and bring to an end the desperate suffering of the people.
“It may be recalled that the United Nations Security Council in its Resolution 2304 decided that UNMISS force levels should be increased to a ceiling of 17,000 troops, including 4,000 for a Regional Protection Force”.
NEW YORK, United States of America, January 16, 2017 – The United Nations peacekeeping mission in South Sudan has confirmed that it continues its discussions with the transitional national unity Government on a 4,000-strong regional protection force, which was authorized by the Security Council last August but has yet to be deployed.
The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) “confirms that in preparation for the arrival of the Regional Protection Force, it continues to be engaged in discussions with the Transitional Government of National Unity as to the various modalities for the new Force, including where they will be deployed in Juba,” said a statement issued by the Mission’s Office of the Spokesperson. The confirmation followed various media reports, including those suggesting that the Government may have changed its position on the deployment of the Force.
The Mission’s attention has been drawn to recent statements reported in the media concerning the deployment of the Regional Protection Force, said the spokesperson’s statement.
“It may be recalled that the United Nations Security Council in its Resolution 2304 decided that UNMISS force levels should be increased to a ceiling of 17,000 troops, including 4,000 for a Regional Protection Force. This was reaffirmed by the Security Council in its recent Resolution 2327, renewing the United Nations Mission in South Sudan for one year,” the spokesperson’s statement added.
Further in the statement, the Mission noted that the Transitional Government of National Unity confirmed its “unconditional” consent to the deployment of the Regional Protection Force by communique to the Security Council on 30 November 2016, and in renewing the UNMISS mandate, including the deployment of the Regional Protection Force, the Council reaffirmed that the security situation in South Sudan remains fragile, with serious consequences for the civilian population.
In early July last year, close to the fifth anniversary of the country’s independence, the youngest nation was plunged into fresh violence due to clashes between rival forces – the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), loyal to President Salva Kiir, and the SPLA in Opposition, backing former First Vice-President Riek Machar. That led to deaths and injuries, including many civilians and several UNMISS peacekeepers, jeopardizing the peace agreement between the political rivals in August 2015, which formally ended their differences.
The United Nations Mission in South Sudan’s attention has been drawn to recent statements reported in the media concerning the deployment of the Regional Protection Force. It may be recalled that the United Nations Security Council in its Resolution 2304 decided that UNMISS force levels should be increased to a ceiling of 17,000 troops, including 4,000 for a Regional Protection Force. This was reaffirmed by the Security Council in its recent Resolution 2327, renewing the United Nations Mission in South Sudan for one year.
The Mission notes that the Transitional Government of National Unity confirmed its “unconditional” consent to the deployment of the Regional Protection Force by communique to the Security Council on 30 November 2016. In renewing the UNMISS mandate, including the deployment of the Regional Protection Force, the Security Council reaffirmed its determination that the security situation in South Sudan remains fragile, with serious consequences for the civilian population in South Sudan.
The Mission confirms that in preparation for the arrival of the Regional Protection Force, it continues to be engaged in discussions with the Transitional Government of National Unity as to the various modalities for the new Force, including where they will be deployed in Juba.
The MoU will be extended for another six months, from 1 January to 30 June 2017.
KHARTOUM, Sudan, January 6, 2017 – The Joint Technical Committee (JTC) on Passage of Humanitarian Assistance from Sudan to South Sudan – comprised of representatives of the Governments of South Sudan, Sudan and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) – is pleased to announce the extension of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will allow for the continued movement of food assistance through Sudan to South Sudan.
The MoU will be extended for another six months, from 1 January to 30 June 2017. The JTC is confident that an extension of the MoU will further contribute to ongoing efforts to prevent hunger among the food-insecure and conflict-affected people in South Sudan, particularly those living in the border state of Upper Nile.
First signed in 2014, the MoU has enabled WFP Sudan to deliver 54,420 metric tons of emergency and nutrition assistance to over 200,000 South Sudanese in Upper Nile state. From January to November 2016, WFP transported 28,626 metric tons of emergency food assistance using 26 convoys through the Sudan corridor.
With this six-month extension, WFP will be able to deliver food to more than 50,000 South Sudanese in food-insecure areas of South Sudan. A portion of the food will be purchased locally in Sudan, supporting Sudanese farmers.
The JTC also commends the close coordination and collaboration between the governments of Sudan and South Sudan at all levels. This has enabled the JTC to set up mechanisms that minimized delays and reduce the time needed to obtain customs clearance.
JUBA, South Sudan, December 30, 2016 – End of the year 2016 message, on behalf of Moustapha Soumaré, the Acting UNMISS SRSG and Head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan:
I would like to extend warm greetings to all the people of South Sudan as we enter this holiday season. As we approach the end of 2016, let us be reminded of the universal values of unity, equality and compassion, which bind us together as human beings – the spirit of Ubuntu (humanity). These values should always be far stronger than anything that divides us.
Sadly, our hopes for sustainable peace were not realized this year and prospects for an end to the conflict have been thwarted with a resurgence of violence in the capital and in many other areas of the country. This has resulted in terrible humanitarian and economic consequences for many South Sudanese. I call on all those engaged in conflict, be with organized forces, armed groups, militias, youth groups with arms and others, to stop all fighting and silence the guns immediately.
While there is no doubt that the fighting has cast a dark shadow over the implementation of the August 2015 peace agreement, we must never lose sight of the ultimate goal – a peaceful and prosperous future for the people of South Sudan. My colleagues and I serving with the United Nations stand ready to support South Sudan as it renews its commitment to the peace process and to help address its pressing humanitarian needs.
No matter if it is local politics, if it international or trade, the most important backbone to policies in the next year will be polarization. That is not Polar Bears dancing on the dwindling ice, if so the U.S. TV station would have better ratings. No, this is the importance of local and national industries, while stressing ignorance towards immigration and imports to add more GDP value and also stop inflation. A balance that is hard to carry as the trust in local currency and local production doesn’t change overnight. That has to happen with steady policies and ability to trade products and create market for the ones that we’re in the past produced far away.
“Definition of polarization
1: the action of polarizing or state of being or becoming polarized: as
a (1) : the action or process of affecting radiation and especially light so that the vibrations of the wave assume a definite form (2) : the state of radiation affected by this process
b : an increase in the resistance of an electrolytic cell often caused by the deposition of gas on one or both electrodes” (…) “2 a : division into two opposites b : concentration about opposing extremes of groups or interests formerly ranged on a continuum” (Merriam-Webster – Polarization, link: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/polarization).
We are dividing ourselves while the world is into more conflicts that need assistance and securities to secure peace. There internal conflicts in Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Somalia, Afghanistan, Yemen and Syria. Where the conflict is bloody, where people are detained for the political affiliation, where innocent dies in the streets and where guns are imported to silence the ones who is not succumbing to the regimes who hold power.
We are living in a time where opposition victors doesn’t get into power, because the leaders of old are not allowing and keeping power by the gun, are using the police force and army to monitor the opposition and even rigs the election to secure the “validation” of their rule. This has happen in many Republics and Nations this year and proves that progress of governance and accountability is dying, like innocence and justice is impartial and only for the elites. The rest of us just have to be lucky to see just systems and laws for the common folk.
Like Adama Barrow is the President-Elect in Gambia, Jean Ping should have become the President in Gabon, Dr. Kizza Besigye in Uganda and Moise Katumbi should have risen to power in DRC if there we’re any justice and transition of Power in the Republic. But the big-man and long ruling Presidents of these nations doesn’t give-in or leave office. They continue to stay without any fear or without any mercy as the monarchs they acts of. Instead keep polarising the political elites and societies with paying the elites and silencing the ones who stand in their path. Also, by forging alliances with nations to make sure justice doesn’t prevail in their path.
While these tragedies are appearing in front of our eyes in our times, the borders and the helping hands are not appearing, the funds and allocations of necessary funds to the refugee camps, the direct food aid and agents of humanitarian actions are not sufficient. The reality of these missing steps should boggle our mind and should freeze our hearts out, as the news of burning convoys into Aleppo, lack of food into refugee camps in Adjumani in Uganda and the lacking rations of food in refugee camps in Tanzania. These should all be a reminder of the fate we have put our world in. The steps of lost grace and mercy on the weakest of humanity, where hospitals and humanitarians are put in the lines of bullets and grenades in between the battlefield as the soldiers fight for keeping merciless tyrants to stay in power.
While the superpowers are claiming the fight for justice, the innocent dies, the towns are battlefields and turns into dust, the graves are not cleared and the lives are lost in vain. This while UN cannot impose arms-embargoes or create a possible cease-fire to get civilians into safety, this while Italian and Greece authorities are working and trying to find ways to impose fleeing civilians on Turkey, because the rich European states fears that fleeing civilians could be terrorists. The humanity and just behaviour is dying while the states are flogging their responsibility to the ones in need.
We can question ourselves if this is right, if we can sleep knowing the indebtedness we have in riches. In the time of peace in our states, where we have possible houses and shelter for the ones fleeing possible genocides and acts against humanity; Europe impose stricter rules on immigration and Brexit proves the fear of Polish and other ethnic groups as they want to secure their borders as key argument to stop being an EU Member State.
We can wonder why the world has come to this that polarization of between ourselves the ones who see the innocent die and the ones who want to keep their own by any means. That the own nationals are going against each other and seeing it as only fit, instead of thinking for instance for a hot minute, what if the war came to our shores and to our homes, wouldn’t we flee? Wouldn’t we do what we could to leave our wealth, our riches to save our own?
Why shouldn’t the Syrians and all other who are in conflicts leave grenades, tanks and bombs, would we live on the streets with daily shooting and killing if we had an option to flee? Would we stay and risk everyday our lives to get a loaf of bread? I doubt that. We would travel to safety and to places where we could resettle and rehash the future of ourselves and our kids. If not we would be risking ourselves and the future of our kin. That is because it’s natural.
Still, the Europeans and citizens of fellow states don’t see it this way with fear-mongering politics and internal polarization of demagoguery, which is out of proportion. This will continue as these conflicts leads to more hurt and damage of lives, where more shelter and more merciless killings to stay in power, where more rigging of elections and more police-states are controlling the civil society. Where the states are more totalitarian and the power controlled by a little elite, while the average citizens are struggling, they will seek fortunes other places instead of in their birth-nations. Just as we would do if our destiny we’re in the limbo, if our homes were shacks and our sockets could electrocute us.
So the world of 2017, will be inflicted with the unfinished business of past, like all years has been, with as much uncertainty as the start of 2016, but with new issues and new struggles, with new people behind bars because of political affiliation, more families lost loved ones because of demonstrations, more people fleeing as the machetes and burning villages for land-grabbing, foreign investors taking land while locals cannot get deeds, as the central government are getting needed funds to supply the army with equipment and salaries, civil servants are left behind with reunification and it is happening so many places. Nobody confess nobody impose on it or even sanction this. We should question the economic challenges and the way they allocate funds, especially when many of these states get based government loans from the IMF and World Bank to basically could function; together with the reasonable taxation they can be able get from their citizens.
We shouldn’t silent on the merciless acts of men, we shouldn’t be ignorant of the world of oppression and fear, as the grand masters of our times are destroying and depleting lands for fortunes, as the multi-national companies see only profits and not see the populations they are forcing into unjust working conditions to trade resources into high profits abroad. These acts shouldn’t be forgotten, as industries and the trade are made for the international companies to gain and not all locals, therefore the polarization are created in these, create more havoc and even more injustice, as the unfair world we live in doesn’t give hands to ones in need. The rich can get it all, while the poor is lucky if they have enough for a jerry-can to buy water. That isn’t justice, that isn’t right when others are only drinking imported expensive French Water.
We should questions the systems and revise them for more balanced between the rich and poor, for more functioning United Nations, for more diplomatic efforts and for stronger laws that cannot make Presidents into Emperors! The reality is that 2017 will start where 2016 and that is not in positive looks into the future, because the powers we have, the armies and police are targeting fellow citizens who deserves better. We all deserve better and we all should know better. Peace.