Wed | Aug 16, 2017

UN chief warns of South Sudan genocide unless world acts

Published:Friday | December 23, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that South Sudan will be heading towards genocide unless immediate action is taken to impose an arms embargo and pressure leaders of the world's newest nation to end hate speech, incitement and violence.

The UN chief said instability in South Sudan is threatening the region and he urged the Security Council to impose an arms embargo, which would "diminish the capacity of all sides to wage war.

"If we fail to act, South Sudan will be on a trajectory towards mass atrocities," Ban warned.

There were high hopes that South Sudan would have peace and stability after its independence from neighbouring Sudan in 2011. But the country plunged into ethnic violence in December 2013 when forces loyal to President Salva Kiir, a Dinka, started battling those loyal to Riek Machar, his former vice-president who is a Nuer.

2015 PEACE DEAL

A peace deal signed in August 2015 has not stopped the fighting, which has killed tens of thousands of people and forced 3.1 million to flee their homes.

UN Humanitarian Chief Stephen O'Brien told the council that the humanitarian situation "has deteriorated dramatically". This year, 6.1 million people - half of South Sudan's population - required humanitarian assistance, and the aid community expects this figure to rise by "a staggering" 20 per cent to 30 per cent in 2017, he said.

"More than one million children under the age of five are now estimated to be acutely malnourished," O'Brien said.

- AP