The head of the U.N. commission of human rights in South Sudan has warned that ethnic cleansing is taking place in the country through starvation, gang rape and burning of villages.
The report was made following a high profile visit by the commission which was in the country for a 10-day probe
According to the commission, more than 1.1 million South Sudanese have fled the country and 1.8 million have been uprooted, most recently in the Equatoria (southern South Sudan) regions, where houses are being torched and people being displaced based on ethnicity.
“Displacement along tribal lines is being orchestrated through killing, rape, looting and burning of homes,” Yasmin Sooka, the head of the commission said.
The three-person U.N. commission was set up in March this year to monitor and report on the human rights situation in South Sudan and make recommendations for improvement.
According to Sooka, the level of sexual violence has reached epic proportions and both government and rebel forces have committed serious abuse to women.
“The scale of gang rape of civilian women as well as the horrendous nature of the rapes by armed men belonging to all groups is utterly repugnant and what is worse is that there is no sense of outrage about this horror,” she said.
These remarks were however immediately denied by Sudanese President Salva Kiir.
South Sudan gained independence in 2011 but has been embroiled in civil war since 2013 after President Salva Kiir sacked his deputy Riek Machar. The conflict has resulted in thousands of deaths and millions of people being displaced.
In 2016 new violence erupted between the two camps which led to hundreds of death in the capital Juba.
A few days ago Sudanese authorities accepted the deployment of additional peacekeepers in the capital.