The United Nations is very concerned that an African Union report on human rights violations in South Sudan since violence erupted over a year ago won’t be discussed at this month’s AU summit, a senior U.N. official said Monday.
Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic told a group of reporters that the U.N. expected the report of the Commission of Inquiry to be taken up at the Jan. 23-31 summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and then released publicly.
“We are hearing that it may not be the case, and it’s a very disturbing development because we firmly think that public reporting on human rights violations in South Sudan is a prerequisite to reach some sort of sustainable peace — not peace that would be just a cease-fire agreement and patching up — but addressing root issues,” he said.
Simonovic said he would be attending the AU summit with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and would then go on alone to visit South Sudan.
Fighting broke out in the world’s newest nation in December 2013 when President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, accused former Vice President Riek Machar, an ethnic Nuer, of attempting a coup. Their political dispute has sparked ethnic attacks and fighting between government troops and rebels which has left tens of thousands of people dead and 1.9 million displaced, according to the U.N.
The U.N. Security Council has blamed the feuding leaders for South Sudan’s “man-made political, security and humanitarian catastrophe” and the threat of famine. The council and east African nations have threatened to impose sanctions against Kiir’s government and Machar’s faction.