The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said on Friday that it documented 3,469 civilian victims of conflict more than last year in South Sudan.
This was revealed in it’s new human rights annual brief on violence affecting civilians released in Juba.
It noted that the number of civilians harmed across the country from January to December 2022 increased by two percent, despite a 27 percent decrease in the overall number of documented violent incidents compared to the previous year.
UNMISS said most of the victims were either killed or injured, abducted and others were victims of conflict-related sexual violence.
It said that the number of victims increased to 1,674 (58 per cent) from 1,057 in 2021, despite the number of violent incidents attributed to the parties to the conflict having declined by 37 per cent in comparison to 2021.
UNMISS disclosed that 42 percent of South Sudanese who suffered from violent conflict were located in Upper Nile and Warrap states, while Jonglei, Unity, Eastern Equatoria and Central Equatoria states collectively accounted for approximately 50 percent of victims.
It said that violence by community-based militias or civil- defense groups mostly affected civilians in Eastern Equatoria, Jonglei and Warrap states respectively.
UNMISS said the number of victims of violent incidents by community-based militia groups or civil-defense groups decreased to 1,642 from the previous 2,279.
It added that violent incidents attributed to community-based militias or civil-defense groups declined to 387 from 531 in 2021.
UNMISS said there were three distinct surges of violence in 2022 between April and May in southern Unity State, between July and September in Warrap State, and between August and December in the Greater Upper Nile region.
In addition, it said that civilians in Upper Nile and Unity states were impacted by violent incidents from the parties to the conflict and their affiliated militia groups, while Central Equatoria state suffered from both inter-communal violence in Juba and Terekeka counties, and violent incidents by the parties to the conflict in Yei, Morobo, and Lainya.
It however, noted with concern the increase by 96 percent in conflict-related sexual violence against women and girls as compared to 2021.
Nicholas Haysom, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of UNMISS called on the transitional unity government to demonstrate political will and step up efforts against impunity, investigate human rights violations and abuses and hold perpetrators accountable, particularly as deadly violence remains an issue of grave concern in parts of the country.
UNMISS also called on all South Sudanese parties to focus on the prospects for sustainable peace, security, and peaceful, fair and inclusive elections.