27 October 2016(Nyamilepedia) —– An alarming rise in hate speech and ethnic hate incitement to violence against other ethnic groups in South Sudan has prompted the U.S. Ambassador to South Sudan, Mary Catherine Phee and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein to issue warnings that if the community and political leaders at the highest levels do not refrain from such incitements South Sudan could witness mass ethnic killing.
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Speaking during a JMEC Plenary on Oct 19th, Ambassador Phee warns that a lot of rumours, misinformation and hate speeches from top leaders could dive South Sudan into ethnic cleansing and leaders must refrain.
“Ethnic prejudice has already led to violence in Equatoria and Aweil and could spread out of control. We urge all South Sudanese leaders, including religious, civil, and business leaders, to do everything they can to restore calm, to remind your communities of the many historic ties that bind them together, and to begin taking the steps necessary to come together as South Sudanese.” Ambassador Phee advises.
A speech by the president Broadcasted on the National Television from SPLM House was masked with hate remarks against the Equatorian Community whom he believes supports SPLM/SPLA in Opposition and are causing havoc targeting his Dinka community along Juba-Yei and Juba Nimule roads.
According to news release yesterday from the High Commissioner’s Office (OHCHR) , over the past two weeks, letters with graphic warnings of violence against those from the Equatoria region were left outside humanitarian organizations in Aweil West in the north-western part of the country.
The letters have been attributed to the Dinka community, and warned Equatorians to either leave or be “eliminated.”
The threats by youth in Aweil include those of violence, mutilation, and murder against Equatorians in their teritory. Several state officials in the region have reportedly joined the hate speech.
An Equatorian staff member of a humanitarian organization was attacked on 16 October in Aweil Town and 104 staff members of humanitarian organizations have been evacuated.
Within the last three days there are rumours that Equatorians left behind during this evacuation have been targeted in Aweil, however, Nyamilepedia Press is yet to independently verify such claims.
The threats followed the killing of an unconfirmed number of Dinka civilians who were traveling by bus to Juba on 8 October, as well as a separate attack on another three buses two days later.
Social media perpetuated rumours about the number of civilians killed and called for revenge against Equatorians.
Speaking in New York, High Commissioner Zeid warns that hateful rhetoric in South Sudan can have devasting consequences for entire communities.
“Hateful rhetoric in South Sudan – particularly if it is exploited for political purposes – can have devastating consequences for entire communities, quickly spiralling into a cycle of revenge attacks,” said High Commissioner Zeid. He urged President Salva Kiir, political and community leaders to “urgently and unambiguously” condemn the incitement to violence as well as to take rapid measures to reduce tensions.
“One important step,” he added, “would be to promptly and transparently investigate the violence of 8 and 10 October and to hold perpetrators criminally responsible. Those who are behind these terrible threats to Equatorians must also be held to account.” High Commissioner Zeid continued.
The Acting Governor of Awil state issued a press release in which he called on all citizens to join the Government in its condemnation of the “alleged threats directed towards our Equatorian brothers and sisters,” which Mr. Zeid welcomed.
However, he remained concerned over a statement issued by President Kiir on 19 October in which the President said he would personally lead military operations against the armed groups responsible for the killings in the region.
Mr. Zeid said that the statement has been interpreted as ethnically driven.
Machar, the leader of the opposition, condemn the hate remarks and calls on the International Community to call spade a spade and hold president Kiir accountable for ethnic hate incitement in the country.
Machar fears that the International Community shy away from pointing the truth out and calling on Salva Kiir to step aside because he failed to lead the country.