Makuei dismisses UN reports on killings
South Sudan rubbished a chilling United Nations report that implicates various armed forces in the killing of civilians in southern Unity State.
The Minister of Information, Michael Makuei termed the report ‘‘concocted’’ by those who are paid to write ‘‘what others want to be written.’’
“If there is anything as such, are they supposed to write to whom [they are writing to] or they are supposed to report to the government of South Sudan?’’ he posed.
According to Makuei South Sudan has climbed up the ladder as far as human rights protection is concerned.
“Why should they be writing all this and then you go and pick them from there and come and ask us and them? Why don’t you ask them? Did you report this to the government? Anybody who is genuine and doing everything in good faith is supposed to report to the government,” he asked this reporter.
According to the report by the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), more than 170 people were killed, 131 women among them girls raped in Unity State between February and May.
UNMISS and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights documented gross violations and abuses of international human rights law and international humanitarian law in Unity State in a joint human rights report seen by The City Review.
According to the report, the ‘‘violations occurred as a result of clashes between joint government forces and affiliated armed militias or groups, as well as elements of the SPLA-IO loyal to First Vice President Dr Riek Machar.’’
The report, which covers the period from February 11 to May 31, 2022, is based on 32 UNMISS verification missions carried out in three countries. Koch, Leer, and Mayendit are among them, as is the surround
On the other hand, Makuei acknowledged the clashes in Unity’s Koch, Leer, and Mayendit counties but claimed the government intervened and resolved the inter-communal conflict.
“Yes, there was a fight and if there was a fight, that fight had taken place and the government intervened and it arrested the situation— and you have been following the news by the way—now how can the government be accused of being a human rights violator at the time when it went there to stop and fighting between communities and they have managed to do it and they have collected a lot of arms?”
In accordance with the report, the hostilities in southern Unity State affected at least 28 villages and settlements, with approximately 173 civilians killed, 12 injured, and 37 women and children abducted.
Many of the abductees were sexually abused, including girls as young as eight years old, with a nine-year-old girl gang-raped to death.
According to UNMISS, 131 cases of rape and gang rape have been documented, and approximately 44,000 civilians have been displaced from at least 26 villages.
It named joint government forces and allied militias or groups allegedly operating under the command of Koch and Mayendit county officials as the primary perpetrators of human rights violations and abuses. It also claimed that SPLA-IO carried out attacks in Mirmir Payam, Koch County.
“Human rights violations were committed with impunity,” said Nicholas Haysom, the head of UNMISS. “The government is duty-bound under international law to protect civilians, investigate allegations of human rights violations, and hold suspected perpetrators accountable in accordance with fair trial standards.” The SPLA-IO were yet to comment on the UNIMSS report.