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Bring to book those accused of committing right abuses in Pibor, US lawmakers tell Juba

Author : | Published: Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Four American lawmakers have again appealed to the government of South Sudan to hold accountable those accused of committing ”gross human rights violations” in Jonglei state.

The U.S members of the Foreign Relations Committee say that reports that the SPLA have engaged in human rights violations against civilians are alarming.

They particularly highlighted the case of abuse towards the Murle community.

The four lawmakers said that such abuse betrays the principles on which South Sudan was founded.

Both Democrats and Republican Senators wrote a letter to President Salva Kiir urging him to reassign commanders whose forces have been accused of indiscipline and violations in Jonglei state.

Senator Robert Menendez, Representative Ed Royce and top members of the Foreign Relations Committee said unless South Sudan implements changes, there is fear that it would head towards a long and entrenched period of instability.

Eye Radio spoke to a Human Rights Watch researcher from Nairobi, Skye Wheeler, who said that the SPLA, the militia forces of David Yau Yau and armed youth from Akobo have committed serious violations in Jonglei:

“The reason why it is a cause for concern is because there are a lot of reports of abuses by soldiers; fighting between rebel forces and the army and other security forces in South Sudan right now.

“What’s really missing here is an appropriate and strong response by the government to killings of civilians by soldiers.

“What people need to see is some kind of accountability; if there are a couple of transparent investigations, one where there is a report made to it -which is public, and yes of course, we need to see perpetrators of these abuses prosecuted for their crime.”

Ms. Wheeler said holding the perpetrators accountable will help prevent further the fear among the Pibor population.

Human Rights Watch has called for an end to restrictions on UN personnel to accessing areas where civilians are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance.

The U.S congressmen – in their letter to President Salva Kiir – said they are strong supporters of South Sudan and would back efforts to improve its human rights records.

The U.S government is funding much of the major infrastructure and developmental programs in South Sudan.

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