March 10, 2014

African Union To Probe Rights Violations In South Sudan

Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the African Union Commission chairperson.
Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the African Union Commission chairperson.

The African Union (AU) has set up an inquiry commission to investigate human rights violations in South Sudan, Press TV reports.

The five-member commission is headed by former Nigerian president, Olusegun Obasanjo, and also includes a judge in charge of the African Court of Human Rights, a member from the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, a representative of the civil society and an expert in gender issues.

Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the African Union Commission chairperson, said the inquiry commission was formed as part of an African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) decision, agreed on by the heads of states and governments.

The inquiry commission is expected to present a progress report within three months to African leaders, who will then decide on measures to prevent further human rights abuses in South Sudan.

The backdrop to the turmoil in South Sudan is the battle between government troops loyal to President Salva Kiir, who is from the Dinka ethnic group, and forces loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar, who is from the Nuer ethnic group.

The clashes initially erupted on the outskirts of the capital, Juba, on December 15, 2013.

The conflict has taken toll on the lives of thousands of people. Reports say nearly 800,000 people in South Sudan have become internally displaced as a result of the violence.

On January 23, the two sides of the conflict signed a ceasefire agreement to end weeks of heavy fighting, but there are still reports of clashes, with each side accusing the other of violating the truce.

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