South Sudan expels UN investigator

2012-11-04 22:13
A man holds South Sudanese flags as he prepares to dance at the country's anniversary celebrations, at the John Garang mausoleum in Juba. (Shannon Jensen, AP)

A man holds South Sudanese flags as he prepares to dance at the country's anniversary celebrations, at the John Garang mausoleum in Juba. (Shannon Jensen, AP)

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Juba - South Sudan said on Sunday it had expelled a UN human rights investigator, accusing her of writing false reports, a move the UN mission said broke the country's legal obligation to the United Nations.

UN sources, who named the officer as Sandra Beidas, said the expulsion may have been related to an August report accusing the army of torturing, raping, killing and abducting civilians.

South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in July last year under a 2005 peace deal that ended a decades-long civil war in which about 2 million people died. Sporadic conflict has continued in disputed border areas.

Human rights groups accuse the new nation, which depends heavily on Western donors, of allowing abuses by its security forces, mostly composed of poorly-trained former guerrilla and militia fighters.

Government spokesperson Barnaba Marial Benjamin said the officer had been "writing reports which have no truth in them". He did not elaborate.

Hilde Johnson, head of the UN mission in South Sudan, called the expulsion a "breach of the legal obligations of the government of the Republic of South Sudan under the charter of the United Nations".

Rights groups Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have accused South Sudan's army of gross human rights violations during a disarmament campaign aimed at stopping inter-tribal warfare in Jonglei.

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