Among the human rights violations taking place in the world’s youngest nation’s continuing civil war is state-sanctioned rape, according to a new United Nations report.

The use of sexual abuse rights as payment was a particular focus in the new UN report on South Sudan. Thousands of incidents of rape have been documented by the UN, although they believe their records to represent only a fraction of actual numbers.

Th new report describes the South Sudanese government’s current policy toward its weakening opposition as a “scorched earth policy” that includes deliberate targeting of civilians for killing, rape and other crimes.

“This is one of the most horrendous human rights situations in the world, with massive use of rape as an instrument of terror and weapon of war,” stated UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra`ad Al Hussein, “yet it has been more or less off the international radar.”

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Widespread human rights abuses including rape have been reported since the conflict broke out in December 2013, but the new UN report has also found that most of the crimes are not taking place as a result of conflict, but are simple attacks on civilians in the lawless country. Much of the abuse takes place within a context of tribalism — which is sometimes referred to as racism — Dinka, Nuer and other tribes have long antagonized each other in the East African region.

By Justin Munce
UN Report downloads (short version) (long version)