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Warrap State, most hit by violence -UN

By Charles K. Mark

Civilians continue to bear the brunt of violence in South Sudan, according to a latest Human Rights Brief from the United Nations Mission in South Sudan.

Geographically, Warrap State was the most affected by the chronic violence, accounting for 34 percent of all civilian victims, followed by Jonglei, Upper Nile, Eastern Equatoria, and Central Equatoria States.

“Ordinary civilians in South Sudan pay dearly for these acts of violence. It is critical to strengthen justice and accountability systems for such crimes,” said Nicholas Haysom, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in South Sudan.

The mission reported that it documented 222 incidents of violence against civilians (including 128 children), in which 395 civilians were killed, 281 injured, 166 abducted, and 29 subjected to conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) between April and June 2023.

UNMISS revealed that the incidents report marked, compared to the previous quarter (Jan-Mar 2023), a 14 percent increase in violent incidents (194 to 222) and a five percent decrease in civilians harmed (from 920 to 871).

While the number of civilians killed decreased by two percent (from 405 to 395), the UN mission agreed that the number of people injured increased by 20 percent (from 235 to 281).

The peace partner indicated that the number of abductions decreased from 266 to 166, while the number of victims subjected to CRSV increased from 14 to 29.

“Incidents perpetrated by community-based militias and/or civil defense groups commonly referred to as inter-communal violence accounted for the majority of the victims (87 percent),” UNMISS noted in its brief.

Meanwhile, over the reporting period, UNMISS explained that it documented at least 20 individuals affected by undue restrictions on fundamental freedoms, including through continuous censorship, harassment, arbitrary arrests, detention, and ill-treatment of individuals expressing critical or divergent views by security forces, which negatively impacted civic and political space.

Haysom stated that the mission collaborated with the South Sudan Human Rights Commission and CSOs for the 12th National Human Rights Forum in Juba under the theme “Right to Freedom of Expression.

UNMISS urged that as the country prepares for elections, it is imperative for the government, with the support of other stakeholders, to take credible steps towards strengthening systems for justice and accountability, protecting affected communities, and expanding civic and political space.

Meanwhile, attempts to reach the national minister of information and government spokesperson, Michael Makuei Lueth, on the phone for comment on the UNMISS brief report were fruitless, as he first requested some time and later declined to pick up the call.


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