Waakhe Simon Wudu
JUBA, 11th April 2012 [Gurtong] - In a statement to the press, UNMISS said the disarmament exercise is peaceful however, a number of human rights violation have been noted that includes alleged beatings, mistreatment and harassment of civilians during the house to house searches.
There have been also cases of civilians arbitrarily detained, abuse in detention and a few reported individual cases of sexual violence and individuals being shot though in some of these cases the alleged perpetrators have been apprehended, the statement read.
“I welcome the Government of South Sudan’s leadership and effort in this regard, and call for continued restraint,” said the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General to South Sudan, Hilde F. Johnson, noting that; “we are very concerned about these reports of human rights violations during disarmament.”
“We are nevertheless encouraged by the actions taken to make sure that the alleged perpetrators are held to account. UNMISS will be closely monitoring the follow-up to these incidents. Those responsible must be brought to justice,” Hilde said.
She said that civilians disarmament conducted in a peaceful and orderly manner is a vital component of a comprehensive approach to ending the cycle of violence and promoting peace in Jonglei State.
UNMISS has helped facilitate the high-level sensitization campaign of the Government that was conducted in sixteen locations across Jonglei in the last two weeks. The process is also closely linked to the Government’s peace initiative for Jonglei launched on 3 April in Bor.
Hilde reiterated in her statement that, while UNMISS has assisted in supporting and facilitating the governments’ move, the Mission calls for respect for human rights and restraint by the South Sudanese security forces involved in disarmament.
As part of its human rights and protection mandate, UNMISS is monitoring the disarmament process through Integrated Monitoring Teams (IMTs), comprised of multi-disciplinary teams of UNMISS staff. So far, more than 27 monitoring missions have been conducted by UNMISS across the State, the statement added.
Hilde further indicated that, in accordance with its mandate, UNMISS will continue to monitor the disarmament process and will inform the Government of any cases of alleged human rights violations that come to its attention and recommend corrective measures.
The South Sudanese President, Salva Kiir last month said he sent 15,000 armed forces to participate in the Jonglei disarmament program. The President called for peaceful disarmament process despite these recent reports.