The government of South Sudan allowed pro-government soldiers and militia to rape female civilians during last year’s civil war, according to a harrowing report published on Friday by the United Nations.
The document details how rape became “acceptable practice” by government affiliated forces and was often used in lieu of wages under an agreement of “do what you can and take what you can.”
"Most of the youth therefore also raided cattle, stole personal property, raped and abducted women and girls as a form of payment," the report said. Other human right violations include children and the disabled being burned and hanged.
In a statement published on Friday, the UN human rights office said: "The report contains harrowing accounts of civilians suspected of supporting the opposition, including children and the disabled, killed by being burned alive, suffocated in containers, shot, hanged from trees or cut to pieces."
Most of the youth therefore also raided cattle, stole personal property, raped and abducted women and girls as a form of payment.
The UN said that between April and September 2015, they investigated more than 1,300 reports of rapes in Unity State, including one incident in which soldiers deliberated whether to rape a 6-year-old girl. They decided to shoot her instead, the report claims.
In October, the acting government’s Sudan People’s Liberation Army suffocated 60 civilian cattle keepers over the course of several days.
The country has been beset by civil war since later 2013, leading to the deaths of tens of thousands of Sudanese. More than 2 million have been displaced by the violence.
Responding to the report, a spokesman for the Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit said that their soldiers had been instructed to observe human rights.
"If there are individuals, soldiers, that comes to violate human rights, then they are doing it at their own peril because the government does not authorise anybody to kill civilians," said spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny.