26 June 2012

South Sudan: Rights Division Urges Government to Prosecute Jonglei Violence Perpetrators

The United Nations has criticised South Sudan's government for its handling of ethnic fighting in Jonglei State. It says the army wasn't able to ... ( Resource: South Sudan Criticised Over Ethnic Fighting )

The Human Rights Division of United Nations Mission in South Sudan urged the government to hold accountable and prosecute those responsible for Jonglei violence that claimed lives of 888 innocent civilians between the period of last December to February this year.

The members of human rights division presented their findings in meeting with members of parliament from affected communities in Jonglei State on Monday in the National Legislative Assembly premises

The report was released yesterday by UNMISS with findings of its in-depth investigations into the inter-communal violence in Jonglei that claim lives of hundreds in 2011 and early 2012 with nine recommendations to South Sudan government.

"It is essential that those responsible for the violence, including those who planned, led or condoned the violence, be held accountable and prosecuted where applicable" read one of the recommendations.

The Human Rights Director Richard Bennet at UNMISS said the report was compiled by the Human Rights Division of UNMISS with support from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. He said human rights officers undertook 20 field missions to towns and rural areas of Jonglei State that were targeted by the violence, in particular those affected by the late December 2011 attacks by thousands of Lou Nuer armed youth on Murle settlements in Pibor County.

The report also stated that to strengthen accountability, the government of Republic of South Sudan, state and community leaders to change hatred speech and start referring to killings and other such acts regardless of the ethnic group responsible as crimes that are unacceptable as well as to take more concerted actions within the criminal justice system to deal with such cases that occur.

"Government must ensure that the peace process already launched is fully supported in terms of resources that the consultation process underway is broad enough to include all affected groups and allows them to express their grievances," said one part of the report adding that those leading the process should ensure that it includes a strong focus on human rights principles, including non-discrimination, economic, social and cultural rights and rights of the victims of attacks to justice and compensation.

One of the recommendations of human rights group also stated that government should develop a comprehensive, multi- sectorial plan with short, medium and long-term actions to respond to the main causes of the violence in Jonglei State, including confidence-building measure designed to create a stable and secure environment, reduce inter-communal tension and create a climate conductive to equitable long-term socio-economic development for all communities

The director also urged the government to implement the human rights recommendations and establishes mobile courts in jonglei to trial perpetrators of violence before the justice system is establish

The report stated that longstanding impunity, and the failure to treat killings, abductions and other acts of violence associated with cattle rustling as crimes has undoubtedly contributed to the continuation of the cycles of retaliatory attacks

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