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South Sudan

    July 11, 2016

    South Sudan: Renewed clashes put civilians at risk, underline need for arms embargo

    Warring parties in South Sudan must take all possible measures to protect civilians, including thousands of internally displaced people currently sheltering at UN bases, said Amnesty International as fighting continued to threaten civilian areas in the capital, Juba, today.

    On 10 and 11 July, artillery shells landed in civilian neighbourhoods near Vice-President Riek Machar’s base in Jebel neighbourhood, injuring civilians and damaging their homes.

    Renewed clashes between rival armed forces since 7 July have left hundreds of people dead and others displaced. Many civilians have not left their homes in days and are running out of food and water. Others have fled to churches and to UN displacement sites, which have themselves come under artillery fire in recent days.

    July 06, 2016

    People forced to eat human flesh and to disembowel dead bodies during South Sudan’s civil war that began in 2013 are among thousands suffering from trauma and psychological distress amid a chronic shortage of mental healthcare services in the country, Amnesty International said today as the country marks its fifth anniversary.

    In a new report, “Our hearts have gone dark”: The mental health impact of South Sudan’s conflict, the organisation documents the psychological impact of mass killings, rape, torture, abductions and even a case of forced cannibalism, on the survivors and witnesses of these crimes.

    “While the death and physical destruction caused by the conflict and preceding decades of war are immediately apparent, the psychological scars are less visible and neglected,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    May 26, 2016

    Dozens of detainees held in dire conditions in poorly ventilated metal shipping containers, fed only once or twice a week and given insufficient drinking water are at risk of death, warned Amnesty International today. 

    According to information obtained by the organisation, these conditions have apparently resulted in the deaths of multiple detainees at the Gorom detention site, located about 20km south of the capital Juba. Soldiers also periodically take them out of the containers and beat them.

    “Detainees are suffering in appalling conditions and their overall treatment is nothing short of torture,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    “This egregious disregard for human life and dignity must stop and for that to happen, the detention site should be immediately shut down until conditions are brought into compliance with human rights standards.”

    April 14, 2016

    Posted at 0300 GMT 15 April 2016

    The South Sudanese government must end arbitrary detentions by the intelligence agency under which dozens of men are being held in squalid conditions without charge or trial sometimes for months on end, said Amnesty International days before opposition leader Riek Machar is due to return to the capital Juba as part of a peace deal requiring the parties to the conflict to form a national unity government.

    Amnesty International has compiled a list of 35 men arbitrarily detained by the National Security Service (NSS) at its headquarters in the Jebel neighbourhood of Juba. Some of the detainees have been held for close to two years, without access to lawyers and with very limited access to their families and the outside world.

    The list, published as part of a briefing Denied protection of the law: National Security Service detention in Juba, South Sudan, includes a former state governor, a 65-year-old university professor, a Ugandan aid worker and a journalist employed by UN-run Radio Miraya.

    March 10, 2016

    Posted at 0001hrs  EAT   11 March 2016

    South Sudanese government forces deliberately suffocated more than 60 men and boys who were detained in a shipping container before dumping their bodies in an open field in Leer town, Unity State, according to new evidence gathered by Amnesty International.

    The organization’s researchers recently visited the grounds of the Comboni Catholic Church where the October 2015 killings took place. They also visited the site, about one kilometer from Leer town, where the bodies were dumped. They found the remains of many broken skeletons still strewn across the ground.The findings are contained in a new briefing South Sudan: 'Their Voices Stopped': Mass Killing in a Shipping Container in Leer.

    “The arbitrary arrest, torture, and mass killing of these detainees is just one illustration of the South Sudanese government’s absolute disregard for the laws of war. Unlawful confinement, torture, willfully causing great suffering, and willfully killing are all war crimes,” said Lama Fakih, Senior Crisis Advisor at Amnesty International.

    February 26, 2016

    By Lama Fakih, Senior Crisis Response Advisor at Amnesty International. Follow Lama on Twitter @lamamfakih

    The horrific attack in the UN-run Malakal Protection of Civilians camp, which claimed the lives of 18 civilians and began on 17 February, is a harsh reminder that despite the stuttering peace process, the situation for South Sudan remains desperate. These were just some of the latest atrocities in a conflict that has claimed countless lives and left 2.8 million facing crisis-level food insecurity.

    I have just returned from South Sudan where I witnessed the impact of this man-made crisis first hand. Last week in Gondor village, Leer County, I met two women who were bent over a tarpaulin in front of their thatch-roofed home, preparing nothing but water lilies for dinner. They showed me how, by rubbing the dried flower seeds between their fingertips, they got at the “food” that they and so many thousands of others have subsisted on during the long months of war.

    January 26, 2016

    The UN Security Council must act immediately on the recommendations of its own Panel of Experts and enforce a comprehensive arms embargo to halt the flow of weapons into South Sudan, said Amnesty International today.

    Following the outbreak of the conflict in December 2013, Amnesty International has been lobbying for an arms embargo to help bring an end to serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. The fighting has resulted in tens of thousands of civilian deaths, with hundreds of thousands displaced.

    “Last year’s peace agreement has proven insufficient to end atrocities and usher in accountability in South Sudan’s internal armed conflict. It should be a no-brainer for the international community to suspend the flow of arms where those arms are being used repeatedly to commit war crimes and to perpetuate grave and systematic human rights violations and abuses,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    August 26, 2015

    The signing of a peace agreement today by the Government of South Sudan is an important and vital step in ending the violence and addressing the massive human suffering in South Sudan. Amnesty International reiterates its call for both parties to embrace an unequivocal commitment to accountability for atrocities committed during the conflict to ensure a lasting peace.  

    “Both sides must uphold the terms of the peace deal in order to ensure that immediate steps are taken to bring those responsible for crimes under international law to trial and provide full reparations to victims,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes. 

    May 26, 2015

    By Alex Neve, Secretaty General, Amnesty International Canada
    - returning from an Amnesty International research mission, May 2015

    For four years, the Sudanese military has waged a terrifying war against its own people, in the besieged state of South Kordofan. As the fourth anniversary of this disgraceful human rights crisis approaches next month; it is long past time for the world to finally do something about it.

    Canada, home to a large Sudanese and South Sudanese community and once upon a time a key player in efforts to bring peace to Sudan, should put diplomatic, financial and humanitarian assets on the table to make sure that happens.

    I have just wrapped up an Amnesty International mission that has been able to cross into the remote Nuba Mountain areas of South Kordofan that are controlled by the Sudan People's Liberation Army - North opposition.

    May 21, 2015

    New research conducted by Amnesty International on the surge in military activity in South Sudan over the past weeks clearly shows that regional and international efforts to end the human suffering caused by armed conflict in South Sudan have failed.

    Amnesty International researchers have just returned from Bentiu in Unity state where they documented violations including civilian killings, abduction and sexual violence.

    “The spike in fighting between the parties to the conflict is a clear indication that South Sudan’s leaders have little interest in a cessation of hostilities, while the region and the rest of the international community are reluctant to take bold steps towards addressing repeated atrocities,” said Michelle Kagari, deputy director with Amnesty International.

    Thousands of people have fled to the United Nations base in Bentiu to escape intensified fighting in Unity state between the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement/Army-In Opposition and government forces and allied youth and militia groups.

    May 14, 2015
    By Alex Neve, Secretary General for Amnesty International Canada Section

    SOUTHERN KORDOFAN - Time and again, as we have interviewed women, men and young people throughout Sudan’s besieged Southern Kordofan state, people have had not just one account of personal tragedy to share but several.

    That is perhaps the most heartbreaking measure of how entrenched this human rights and humanitarian crisis has become. After four years, the people of Southern Kordofan have seen the violence and injustice come around several times: more bombs, more displacement, more hunger, more loss and more death.  This is a cruel campaign that does not only strike once.

    These are not the stories of those caught on the front line by chance. But civilians deliberately targeted.

    In none of the sites we visited did we see or hear of any evidence of nearby military targets that might have justified the attacks.  In fact one woman told me that the Antonov bombers spend much more time raining hell around villages and sites for internally displaced persons (IDPs), than they do at the front-lines of the fighting.  

    May 11, 2015
    People flee fighting in Southern Kordofan FILE Photo 2011 EPA/ PAUL BANKS

    In a forgotten corner of South Sudan – a country itself mired in war, human rights violations and a staggering humanitarian catastrophe – refugees from a largely overlooked human rights crisis continue to arrive and continue to face immense challenges.

    The refugee camps of Yida and Adjoung Thok lie inside the northern tip of the country’s Unity State (a cruelly ironic name for a state that has seen some of the worst fighting in the country’s current civil war), very close to the border that was etched into atlases when it gained independence from Sudan in July 2011.

    They have  arrived here from neighbouring Sudan’s Southern Kordofan state, where an overlooked human rights crisis has played out during four unrelenting years of armed conflict and at the Sudanese armed forces’ massive and indiscriminate military assault.

    These refugees number around 95,000 and continue to arrive daily. Just imagine the desperation that makes fleeing to war ravaged South Sudan, a more attractive option than enduring the bombing, terror and hunger in Southern Kordofan.  

    March 06, 2015

    The African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) should immediately consider, publish and disseminate the final report of the Commission of Inquiry into human rights violations and abuses committed in South Sudan said 76 organizations in an open letter to the 15 PSC member states.

    In January 2015, AUPSC members decided to defer consideration or publication of the African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan (AUCISS) report because they thought it would obstruct the achievement of a peace agreement. But as a 5 March deadline for reaching a final agreement has now passed, the organizations renewed calls for the report to be published.

    “A culture of impunity has fuelled South Sudan’s conflict and emboldened combatants to target civilians, commit sexual violence, destroy and loot civilian property without fear of legal consequences,” said Arnold Tsunga, Africa Director of the International Commission of Jurists. “The release of the report could help deter further atrocities, by bringing to light what has taken place and making more real the prospect of accountability,”

    January 30, 2015

    The African Union’s (AU) Peace and Security Council has failed the thousands of South Sudanese victims who are waiting for truth and justice by not making public the report of the Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan, said Amnesty International today.

    Olusegun Obasanjo, former president of Nigeria and Chair of the Commission of Inquiry, was scheduled to present the report to the AU Peace and Security Council yesterday evening. But, in a move shocking to those committed to accountability, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, tabled a motion to “defer” presentation and consideration of the report pending the finalisation of a peace agreement. Presidents Zuma of South Africa and Museveni of Uganda seconded the motion.

    “What is outrageous is that the Peace and Security Council shelved the report indefinitely before its members even received copies or heard Obasanjo’s remarks,” said Amnesty International’s African Regional Research and Advocacy Director Netsanet Belay. “The AU seems to have forgotten that one of its founding principles is the condemnation and rejection of impunity.”

    January 21, 2015

    0001 GMT 22 January 2015.

    The African Union (AU) should immediately publish the report of the AU Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan, said Amnesty International, Community Empowerment for Progress Organization, FIDH (the International Federation for Human Rights), and the South Sudan Law Society.

    Their joint call comes ahead of the AU summit, amid concern that the ongoing delay in the publication of the report is impacting on the urgent need for accountability for crimes committed in South Sudan.

    “Three months after the Commission of Inquiry submitted its report to the AU, its findings and recommendations are yet to see the light of day,” said Edmund Yakani, director of Community Empowerment for Progress Organization. “In the meantime the conflict in South Sudan is continuing unabated with dire impacts on the civilian population.”

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