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South Sudan expels UN rights officer

KAMPALA, Uganda — South Sudan, which gained independence from Sudan last year after decades of civil war, has expelled a UN human rights officer after the government objected to a report raising allegations of atrocities by South Sudan’s army.

Hilde F. Johnson, head of the United Nations mission in South Sudan, described the expulsion as a ‘‘breach of the legal obligations’’ of South Sudan’s government ‘‘under the Charter of the United Nations.’’

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Human rights monitoring ‘‘must be protected,’’ Johnson said in a statement Sunday.

“Human rights violations and discrimination were at the core of the South Sudanese struggle during decades of civil war,’’ the statement said.

The report, published by the UN in June, accused South Sudan’s military of widespread abuses while trying to disarm civilians in South Sudan’s Jonglei State after a surge of ethnic violence. South Sudan condemned the report as one-sided.

According to the UN statement, one of its human rights officers was recently given 48 hours to leave the country.

The officer — identified by a colleague outside the UN as Sandra Beidas — is now in Entebbe, Uganda, according to the statement, ‘‘pending a decision on her future status.’’

‘‘This expulsion raises serious concerns, and we hope it does not represent a step backward for human rights in South Sudan,’’ said Jehanne Henry, a senior researcher for Human Rights Watch in the region.

Officials from South Sudan’s Information Ministry and the president’s office could not be reached for comment.

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