UN investigators on Thursday said South Sudan’s population is suffering as massive corruption, starvation and local violence are being used to prolong the country’s conflict.
The UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan issued its latest report in Geneva.
The report came two days before Saturday’s deadline for forming a unity government that is part of the 2018 peace deal between President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar.
Commission chairwoman Yasmin Sooka said in a statement, “everybody understands that continued impunity will perpetuate violence.’’
She said that the extreme poverty and lack of public services in South Sudan had been exacerbated as government officials had stolen millions of dollars of public funds.
The graft has also left the population hungry, the report charged, while acknowledging that various conflict parties have blocked aid from reaching civilians.
The report said “deliberate starvation is clearly occurring along ethnic and political lines in an effort to marginalise dissident communities’’ stressing that this may amount to crimes against humanity.
The Commission added that the conflict is festering on the local level, often masked as ethnic clashes over cattle.
UN aid agencies warned that some 6.5 million people, more than half of the population, could face acute food insecurity during the peak of the hunger season from May to July.
South Sudan descended into civil war in 2013 after Kiir accused Machar, then his deputy, of plotting a coup.
The resulting five-year conflict led to tens of thousands of deaths and the displacement of some four million people. (dpa)