South Sudan: Starvation is being used as weapon of war

Sudan

An investigation has revealed that starvation is being used as a weapon of war by the government forces of South Sudan against the citizens of the country. Deliberate starvation tactics used by government forces and allied militia, and by opposition forces, are driving civilians out of their homes, exacerbating Africa’s largest refugee crisis, said the report that was published on Thursday.

“All parties to the conflict have committed widespread human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law,” said the report by law firm Global Rights Compliance. The report is the first time that the global community has been called on to step forward and intervene and demand that starvation crimes in South Sudan must be recognized for directly violating the international law.

According to the report, starvation tactics include the large scale and systematic burning and razing of homes and property; destruction of food crops and markets; and targeted attacks on humanitarian aid workers. The devastation has forced hundreds of thousands of civilians to flee, mainly to refugee camps in northern Uganda.

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Alex de Waal, executive director of the World Peace Foundation at Tufts University and an expert on the Horn of Africa, said, “Starvation crimes perpetrated by South Sudanese government forces are well documented. Recently, the UN high commissioner for human rights and researchers have been recording crimes and seeking accountability.”

“There’s a real hope that there may be a first-ever prosecution in either the South Sudan hybrid tribunal or an international court for the war crime of starvation, bringing a South Sudanese culprit to the dock,” said De Waal. The United Nations has reported that the threat to human life and the rising risk of famine has reached an unprecedented level with at least 8 million people believed to be facing acute food insecurity.

Yasmin Sooka, chair of the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan, said: “The people we meet tell us repeatedly that the only way the killings, rape and sexual violence, looting and pillage will stop is if those responsible for the violations are held criminally accountable. Impunity for these serious violations since 2013 has got us to this desperate point, where most South Sudanese are unable to feed themselves and rely mainly on humanitarian assistance.”

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Salma Hussain is an MBBS doctor who loves to write on health-related topics. Apart from this, writing on sports and entertainment topics is her hobby. She is playing the role of an important writer in Arab Post.

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