Campaigns of atrocities against civilians have been attributed to the SPLA. In the SPLA/M’s attempt to disarm rebellions among the Shilluk and Murle, they burned scores of villages, raped hundreds of women and girls and killed an untold number of civilians. Civilians alleging torture claim fingernails being torn out, burning plastic bags dripped on children to make their parents hand over weapons, and villagers burned alive in their huts if it was suspected that rebels had spent the night there. In May 2011, the SPLA allegedly set fire to over 7,000 homes in Unity State.
The UN reports many of these violations and the frustrated director of one Juba-based international aid agency calls them “human rights abuses off the Richter scale”. In 2010, the CIA issued a warning that “over the next five years, a new mass killing or genocide is most likely to occur in southern Sudan.” The Nuer White Army has stated it wished to “wipe out the entire Murle tribe on the face of the earth as the only solution to guarantee long-term security of Nuer’s cattle” and activists, including Minority Rights Group International, warned of genocide in Jonglei. At the beginning of 2017, genocide was imminent again.
Peter Abdul Rahaman Sule, the leader of the key opposition group United Democratic Forum, has been under arrest since 3 November 2011 over allegations linking him to the formation of a new rebel group fighting against the government.
The child marriage rate in South Sudan is 52%. Homosexual acts are illegal.
Recruitment of child soldiers has also been cited as a serious problem in the country. In April 2014, Navi Pillay, then the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, stated that more than 9,000 child soldiers had been fighting in South Sudan’s civil war.
The United Nations rights office has described the situation in the country as “one of the most horrendous human rights situations in the world.” It accused the army and allied militias of allowing fighters to rape women as form of payment for fighting, as well as raid cattle in an agreement of “do what you can, take what you can.” Amnesty International claimed the army suffocated to death in a shipping container more than 60 people accused of supporting the opposition. On 22 December 2017, at the conclusion of a 12-day visit to the region, the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan said, “Four years following the start of the current conflict in South Sudan, gross human rights violations continue to be committed in a widespread way by all parties to the conflict, in which civilians are bearing the brunt. The Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan was established by the Human Rights Council in March 2016