Delegation of the European Union to Albania

JOINT LOCAL STATEMENT ON UNMISS FLASH HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT ON THE ESCALATION OF FIGHTING IN GREATER UPPER NILE

Juba, 02/07/2015 - 00:00, UNIQUE ID: 150702_01
Local Statements

The European Union Delegation, the Heads of Mission of France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, The United Kingdom and the Heads of Mission of Canada, Norway, Switzerland and the United States issue the following statement in South Sudan:

"The Heads of Mission are deeply disturbed by the atrocities committed by government forces documented in the recent UNMISS report on the Escalation of Fighting in Greater Upper Nile, published on June 30th 2015.

The atrocities reported indicate a frightening new level of brutality on the part of government forces and associated militias, including acts such as the burning alive of women and children inside their houses, gang rapes and the wanton destruction of medical clinics.  These actions have led tens of thousands of civilians to flee their homes in southern Unity State, deepening an already grave humanitarian situation to a point at which the possibility of famine can no longer be ruled out.

The Heads of Mission strongly condemn these horrific acts against civilians and urge all parties to take steps to end these as a matter of urgency. They call for an immediate, rigorous and transparent investigation by government authorities into these reported incidents as well as into the numerous other reports of abuses by all parties since the outbreak of conflict in December 2013. They specifically call for the government to honour its commitment to allow further investigations by granting unfettered access to UNMISS.

The Heads of Mission recall the repeated commitment of both the government and the SPLA-iO to a Cessation of Hostilities and urge immediate implementation in Unity State of Humanitarian Pauses which allow UN human rights investigators and humanitarians full and safe access to civilian populations at risk.

The Heads of Mission are greatly concerned at the blanket impunity that has been afforded thus far to all participants in this conflict. They are encouraged that the African Union has agreed to consider this month the AU’s Commission of Inquiry report; they call for the findings of the Commission to be made public and for urgent action to be taken to bring to justice all perpetrators of abuses of human rights and International Humanitarian Law. Absent such action, there will be no sustainable peace in South Sudan."

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