Human rights in South Sudan

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Human rights in South Sudan are a contentious issue, owing at least in part to the country's violent history.

In late July 2011, a few weeks after South Sudan gained its independence, President Salva Kiir Mayardit gave an address to hundreds of soldiers, police, government officials, diplomats, and others in which he warned the army and police against the use of torture, saying it gave South Sudan "a very bad image in the international scene". He also said he was "declaring war on all criminals", including members of the South Sudanese armed forces and constabulary who committed human rights violations, and ordered the Ministry of Justice to prosecute anyone charged with rape or torture.[1]

Disarmament campaign[edit]

In the SPLA/M's anti-insurgency campaign to disarm rebellions among the Shilluk and Murle, they burned scores of villages, raped hundreds of women and girls and killed an untold number of civilians.[2] Human Rights Watch alleges that both the SPLA and the rebel group led by Johnson Olony were responsible for atrocities.[3]

Civilians alleging torture by the SPLA claim fingernails being torn out, burning plastic bags dripped on children to make their parents hand over weapons and villagers burned alive in their huts if rebels were suspected of spending the night there. In May 2011, the SPLA allegedly set fire to over 7,000 homes in Unity state.[4] The United Nations Human Rights Council reported many of these violations, and the frustrated director of one Juba-based international aid agency called them "human rights abuses off the Richter scale".[2]

Amnesty International researchers claim security forces committed widespread torture against civilians, including children as young as 18 months, in its disarmament campaign called Operation Restore Peace in Jonglei state that began in March 2012.[5]

Ethnic warfare[edit]

In 2010, prior to South Sudanese independence the following year, the CIA issued a warning that "over the next five years ... a new mass killing or genocide is most likely to occur in southern Sudan."[2] The Nuer White Army of the Lou Nuer released a statement "wipe out the entire Murle tribe on the face of the earth as the only solution to guarantee long-term security of Nuer’s cattle."[6] Activists, including Minority Rights Group International, warn of genocide in the current Jonglei conflict.[7]

Political freedom[edit]

Peter Abdul Rahaman Sule, the leader of the key opposition group United Democratic Forum, has been under arrest since November 3, 2011 over allegations linking him to the formation of a new rebel group fighting against the government.[8][9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wadu, Waakhe Simon (1 August 2011). "Salva Kiir Warns Armed South Sudan Forces Over Human Rights Abuse". Oye! Times. Retrieved 18 August 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c "Sudan: Transcending tribe". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 30 April 2011. 
  3. ^ "Southern Sudan: Abuses on both sides in Upper Nile clashes". Human Rights Watch. 2011-04-19. Retrieved 2011-08-16. 
  4. ^ "SPLA set fire to over 7,000 homes in Unity says Mayom county official". Sudan Tribune. 24 May 2011. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  5. ^ "South Sudan security forces abusing civilians". BBC. 3 October 2012. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  6. ^ "United Nations urges South Sudan to Help Avert Possible Attack". Bloomberg Television. 27 December 2011. Retrieved 3 January 2012. 
  7. ^ "Activists warn of "genocide" in S.Sudan's Jonglei conflict". Sudan Tribune. 16 December 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2012. 
  8. ^ "S. Sudan’s opposition leader arrested over rebel links". Sudan Tribune. 4 November 2011. Retrieved 17 November 2012. 
  9. ^ "South Sudan arrests opposition leader turned rebel". AlArabiya. 4 November 2011. Retrieved 17 November 2012. 

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