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.’’

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.

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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.