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Commission of Human Rights in South Sudan release their 2020 report highlighting deliberate policy of starvation

20 February 2020

The Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan have released their 2020 report which significantly highlights the deliberate starvation of civilians. In a press release, the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan says

“Millions of South Sudanese civilians have been deliberately deprived of access to basic services and many deliberately starved, while national revenues have been diverted by the country’s politicians”

The Report includes a detailed analysis of the starvation practices and notes that ‘both government and opposition forces attacked, destroyed and rendered useless objects indispensable to the survival of the population and used starvation of civilians as means to achieve military objectives’ and that ‘denial of humanitarian access and displacement brought about by unlawful tactics have significantly exacerbated famine in different parts of the country, depriving hundreds of thousands of civilians of vital needs, including access to food.’

The Report further concludes that:

incontrovertible and sufficient evidence exists to hold to account individuals both in the Government and in the armed opposition under international and national laws who have pursued policies leading to starvation of the population, including under article 8 (2)(e)(xix) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which now includes the intentional use of starvation of civilians as a method of warfare as a war crime in non-international armed conflict.

Global Rights Compliance and the World Peace Foundation have drafted ‘Policy Paper on South Sudan‘ containing a detailed analysis of real-life (conflict) case study of South Sudan designed to provide an authoritative assessment of the prospects of accountability based on a review of the most relevant and probative documentation/information.


The policy paper forms part of the Mass Starvation Expert report, drafted by Global Rights Compliance and World Peace Foundation, which provides the first authoritative assessment of the potential for prosecuting mass starvation as a violation of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law using International Criminal Law (‘ICL’) and/or national jurisdictions.


GRC have also engaged with the Swiss and Dutch government during the passage of the Rome Statute amendment to include starvation as a war crime in non-international armed conflict. Including GRC’s two starvation side-events at ASP 17 in 2018 and ASP 18 in 2019, we delivered multi-lateral stakeholder outreach, including a high-level panel event with the Swiss on the amendment during International Law Week; policy papers, advocacy and analysis. As GRC enters the Phase II of the Starvation Project, our hope is that the momentum carrying the Rome Statute amendment on starvation will engender further action towards rendering starvation morally toxic and enhancing the protection of civilians in whatever type of conflict they find themselves embroiled in.


Read the full UN Report here. For more information on GRC’s starvation project, see

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