UN report detailing children and the disabled being burned alive in South Sudan is reliable, say country's churches

Upper Nile residents wait for assistance after being displaced from their homes in the ongoing civil war in South Sudan.Reuters

Church sources in Sudan are confirming the veracity of a United National Human Rights (UNHR) report that women and children and the disabled are being subjected to rape and brutality amid the eruption of a civil war in the territory.

According to the report, from April to September last year, there were 1,300 rape cases reported in Unity, one of South Sudan's 10 states. It also indicated that government allies are allowing the rape of women in lieu of wages for the pro government fighters.

The same report described a "scorched earth policy" of deliberate rape, pillage and the killing of civilians during the civil war last year.

"The quantity of rapes and gang-rapes described in the report must only be a snapshot of the real total. This is one of the most horrendous human rights situations in the world, with massive use of rape as an instrument of terror and weapon of war — yet it has been more or less off the international radar," UHNR chief Zeid Raad al-Hussein, said, expressing alarm over the number of civilians affected which is already equal to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

A report from IBTimes meanwhile reported that the crimes against women and children range from brutality among women who fight off their assailants and those who look their rapists in eye. There were also those who were killed by their rapists. In one incident, a woman was forced to watch her teenage daughter being raped by at least 10 fighters.

Aside from rape, the UNHR report detailed extreme violence against opposition supporters, with children and the disabled being burned alive, suffocated in containers, executed, hung from trees, maimed or chopped to pieces.

A report by Agencia Fides confirms the UNHR report, citing the act of rape being used as a tool to humiliate rival populations and also as part of compensation for the soldiers.

"That said, the UN report is definitely reliable. We saw members of the inquiry committee do a thorough job on the ground until the end of January, meeting and interviewing local witnesses. The systematic use of mass rape to humiliate the opponent is terribly real and widespread. In general UN reports are reliable because they refer only news that can also be verified, " Fides sources confirmed.