By Alison Giffen:
Tens of thousands of people in fear for their lives are sheltering inside six United Nations bases in the world’s youngest country, South Sudan. They have fled to these “safe havens” to escape the violence of a civil war that has been tearing apart their country since mid-December. Swift and decisive United Nations action is needed to protect civilians from further suffering and bloodshed.
Violence flared on December 15 between South Sudanese President Salva Kiir’s government forces and supporters of his former vice president, Riek Machar.
Mass graves, mass extrajudicial executions, attacks on U.N. personnel, sexual violence and the targeting of individuals based on their ethnicity have been reported since the first weeks of fighting, and the conflict has displaced approximately 740,000 men, women and children – a number that continues to grow. And, although civilian casualties are notoriously difficult to count and confirm, the International Crisis Group has reported that as many as 10,000 deaths may have occurred during the first month of fighting.
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