Stephanie Young 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today on reports of recent ethnic violence in South Sudan:
"I join in condemning the horrifying ethnic violence that has been reported to have taken place against civilians in South Sudan. Amid reports of residents in the town of Bentiu having been singled out for murder based on their ethnic origin and of rebel forces encouraging supporters to target others for sexual assault and killing, it is clear that the international community must stand together in calling on both sides in the conflict to protect the lives and human rights of all civilians.
"The people of South Sudan, regardless of ethnic identity, religious affiliation, or political allegiance deserve the equal chance to build better lives as part of a free and democratic nation. This kind of mass violence was what the South Sudanese people worked for decades to overcome in their movement for independence. That independence has brought new challenges, but those challenges can and must be overcome through peaceful dialogue and cooperation - not the force of arms or the corrosive power of fear.
"With more than 200 civilians reported killed and thousands forced to flee their homes, it is up to President Kiir and rebel leaders, particularly Riek Machar, to come together to resolve this conflict quickly and to prevent further violence or displacement, and, ultimately, reconciliation must be driven by leaders of South Sudan's robust civil society."