Juba-based politicians inflame Upper Nile conflict

By William Madouk Garang

The US ambassador to South Sudan has accused unspecified politicians in Juba of being behind the ongoing conflict in restive Upper Nile region.

In his statement on Human Rights Day, Ambassador Michael J. Adler called on South Sudanese leaders to act with urgency to end human rights violation and hold perpetrators accountable.

“On this occasion, we call on South Sudan’s leaders to act with urgency to end human rights violations and to hold perpetrators accountable,” said the US envoy in a statement extended to No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper.

“The United States is gravely concerned by credible reports of continued human rights violations and the impunity enjoyed by those perpetrating such acts,” he added.

The envoy stated that numerous of those violations occur within the context of subnational violence, such as the ongoing conflict in Upper Nile State.

“It is clear that political actors in Juba bear responsibility for much of the violence in Upper Nile State and must act to end it,” he said.

Amb. Adler cited that they are deeply concerned about sexual and gender-based violence and extrajudicial killings happening in the country.

“Other significant violations pertain to limitations on internationally recognized rights, such as freedom of expression, that are essential elements for a stable, thriving society and open civic space,” he noted.

He said the commitment to human rights is a foundational element in the U.S. relationship with South Sudan and will remain forever.

“It has been the driving force behind U.S. support for the people of this country from its very beginning, which dates back decades before South Sudan’s independence in 2011.  This commitment remains as strong as ever today,” the statement stressed.

The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ report said continued fighting among armed groups in the Upper Nile region has displaced 8,000 civilians in Fashoda County.

UN agency said armed youth locally known as the white Army are the ones behind the attacks and burning of villages including Kodok and other locations.

OCHA said since the conflict started along the River Nile in mid-August, over 18,000 civilians have sought shelter at Malakal PoC, adding that the IDPs situation between two communities remains tense.

Meanwhile Kitgwang Declaration under Simon Gatwech and his former ally Johnson Olony of Agwelek Forces are locked up in a fierce blame game over who bears the responsibility for the atrocities committed against civilians in Upper Nile State.

Global Human Rights Day has been observed annually on December 10, since acceptance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations Convention in 1948.

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