In the Commission’s report, which will be presented to the Geneva-based Human Rights Council on March 9, both the government and armed groups are described as having pursued policies responsible for the starvation of the population in Wau and Unity states.
The United Nations has been providing food aid to hungry South Sudanese over a period of many years.
The people of South Sudan have
been deliberately starved in different parts of the country for ethnic and
political reasons, and sexual violence against women and men as a weapon of war
is ongoing, UN investigators have said.
The three-member commission,
appointed by the UN Human Rights Council, also said South Sudan’s political
elites are oblivious’ to the suffering of civilians. They warned of
intercommunal conflict and terrible rights violations in large swathes of the territory,
as a new deadline of the formation of a unity Government approaches after years
In the Commission’s report, which
will be presented to the Geneva-based Human Rights Council on March 9, both the
government and armed groups are described as having pursued policies responsible
for the starvation of the population in Wau and Unity states.
The tactic is part of a wider strategy
to deprive enemy communities of resources and thus force their capitulation,
along with a denial of humanitarian access and related displacement. However,
this has significantly exacerbated famine in different parts of the country,
the report notes, depriving hundreds of thousands of civilians of vital needs,
including access to food.
“The fact of the destruction of crops
or taking away the possibility of getting access to water through boreholes and
so on, that can constitute the war crime of starvation, because... your intention
is to starve the civilian population….in this case by both sides, as we’ve
documented,” said Professor Andrew Clapham, a member of the Commission on Human
Rights in South Sudan.
At the same time, the
investigators describe how soldiers and militias have also been allowed to
reward themselves and forcibly displace communities from ancestral lands, who
have had little option but to join any of the many factions engaged in the
Other abuses include attacks on
villages by forces loyal to the Government and opposition in Western Bahr el
Ghazal, Unity and Jonglei states, that have driven displacement at alarming
The Commission also documents
extensive violent campaigns in Warrap, Western Bahr el-Ghazal and Unity States
linked to government forces who have forcibly recruited men and boys, as have
In the Commission’s fourth report
on South Sudan for the Human Rights Council, the investigators also warn that
conflict-related sexual violence has continued to be widespread and pervasive. The
practice follows a recognizable pattern of terror and subjugation used as a
tactic of war, the report explains, such that the environment remains insecure
But with mechanisms for justice
and accountability for sexual and gender-based violations still lacking in
South Sudan, denials by perpetrators and stigmatization of victims remain a
“Entrenched impunity and lack of
accountability, characterized by failure to address past and ongoing
violations have been the key driver of violence in South Sudan,” Professor
Clapham told journalists. “This needs to change to stabilize and democratize
Massive corruption, which has
siphoned off “millions of dollars” from the National Revenue Authority, also
amount to economic crimes by senior Government officials, the investigators
“High-ranking officials have used
their official positions to influence decisions on the allocation of State
resources and official procurement, diverting public funds for personal gain an
advantage,” said Commission Chair Yasmin Sooka.
South Sudan, the world’s youngest
nation has been mired in instability and conflict for nearly all eight years
of its existence. Today, more than 1.4 million civilians remain internally displaced
and are languishing in camps unfit to meet their basic needs and subsisting on
diminished humanitarian aid”, the report notes.