As South Sudan sinks deeper into its 18-month-long civil war, the United Nation’s Human Rights Council has decided to send a mission to assess violence in the fledgling nation. The decision came amid new allegations of heightened human rights violations, the AFP reported Thursday.
A recent report by the U.N. found South Sudan’s military responsible of utilizing violence with “new brutality and intensity” during a recent campaign, which included raping then torching girls alive in their homes, according to the United Nations News Center. The investigation, based on testimonies from 115 victims, also found instances of gang-rape, abductions and torture.
“This recent upsurge [in fighting] has not only been marked by allegations of killing, rape, abduction, looting, arson and displacement, but by a new brutality and intensity,” the U.N. report said. “The scope and level of cruelty that has characterized the reports suggests a depth of antipathy that exceeds political differences.”
In response, the U.N. Security Council voted Wednesday to effectively blacklist six generals, three of them affiliated with the government and the three others with rebel groups, who they held responsible for the worsening violence, media outlets reported. The six generals have had their assets frozen and are barred from international travel in an attempt to pressure both sides to quell the violence.
The U.N. mission has been proposed to monitor and assess violence in the country, with the stated intention of holding those responsible for the repeated human rights violations accountable. Some of the language of the report, proposed by American, Britain and other countries, was allegedly softened to win support from African nations, the AFP said.
South Sudan, which became an independent state in 2011, has experienced full-fledged violence since December 2013, when President Salva Kiir accused his former vice president, Riek Machar, of plotting a coup. Since then, the country has been fractured largely along ethnic lines, with more than two million people reportedly having been displaced.
In May alone, more than 129 children were killed according to the United Nations, the International Business Times reported. Around 13,000 children were estimated to have been recruited into various factions, girls were reported to have experienced high levels of rape, and boys experienced castration.
Peace talks in Ethiopia have failed to produce a ceasefire, and amid the worsening violence, the U.N. has vowed to confront the deepening conflict. The council “cannot stand silent in the face of such violations and abuses,” U.S. representative Keith Harper, who presented the resolution to send a mession to South Sudan, said in front of the United Nations council.