U.N. reports mass rape, killings, torture in South Sudan, seeks oil scrutiny
By Tom Miles GENEVA (Reuters) - U.N. investigators have identified perpetrators of pervasive rape and killings and torture in secret safe houses in South Sudan, and believe oil revenues have driven much of the violence in its civil war, a report said on Wednesday.
By Tom Miles
GENEVA (Reuters) - U.N. investigators have identified perpetrators of pervasive rape and killings and torture in secret safe houses in South Sudan, and believe oil revenues have driven much of the violence in its civil war, a report said on Wednesday.
The U.N. Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan recommended further investigation of evidence that proceeds from South Sudan's oil-based economy had been channelled to government forces and militias linked to reported war crimes.
The Commission said the army, national security, military intelligence, rebel forces and affiliated armed groups had committed serious human rights breaches, and it had drawn up a confidential list of suspects including army and opposition commanders, two state governors and a county commissioner.
Its 212-page report detailed people being held for years and tortured in secret, vermin-ridden detention centres, children being run down by tanks, rape of girls as young as seven, and babies being drowned, starved or smashed against trees.
In some stricken areas, 65 percent of females and 36 percent of males may have been sexually abused, according to the report.
Although South Sudan's main warring parties signed a peace deal in September, widespread violence, especially rape, has continued.
A member of the three-person commission, Andrew Clapham, said it was outraged by reports of further fighting between government forces and the rebel National Salvation Front, which was not part of the peace agreement, in the Yei River area.
"There are thousands of civilians who have been forcibly displaced following a scorched-earth policy in which the parties to the conflict are attacking the villages, torching the homes, killing civilians and raping women and girls," Clapham said.
The United States, Britain and Norway jointly expressed their alarm at the reports of escalating violence in Yei. "These military actions, and the trading of blame, must stop," they said in a joint statement.
Clapham said that more than 5,000 refugees had reached neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo and up to 20,000 people were expected to be displaced by the latest fighting.
The report cited a close connection between oil and the conflict. A law ensuring that South Sudan’s oil-producing regions and communities received two and three percent of its oil revenue respectively had triggered a redrawing of provincial boundaries and ethnic conflict.
"We feel the national security services are very much involved in the siphoning off of oil money," said Clapham.
The Human Rights Council should get to the bottom of the sums involved and where the money was going, he told reporters, noting that health and education spending was "minuscule".
"If you are involved in oil extraction in that area and you are asked to assist one side or the other, you could be accused of complicity in war crimes. There are Council members that we think have a responsibility to look more carefully at this."
South Sudan is one of the world's worst humanitarian crises. This year the United Nations needs $1.5 billion for live-saving aid for its population and $2.7 billion for its refugees.
(Additional reporting by Gwladys Fouche in Oslo; Editing by Mark Heinrich)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.