The Australian Government strongly condemns the targeted killing of hundreds of civilians in South Sudan in the last week.

The United Nations (UN) has confirmed that men, women and children were killed when opposition forces took control of Bentiu in Unity State on 15 and 16 April. Victims were located in a hospital, a mosque, and a church and were reportedly targeted because of their ethnic origins and nationality. In the town of Bor in Jonglei State, civilians sheltering at a UN protection site were also targeted and killed on 17 April by an armed group.

Reports of using the media during the Bentiu attacks to incite violence, including sexual violence, are abhorrent.

These events underscore Australia’s continuing concern at the humanitarian and security situation in South Sudan. As a result of the conflict, an estimated seven million people face the threat of a severe food crisis by the end of the year. On 12 April, I announced that Australia would provide an additional $7.8 million for communities affected by the continuing unrest. With this contribution, Australia has provided over $50 million in humanitarian assistance to South Sudan since 2012.

Australia commends the work of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to protect civilians.  Following South Sudan’s independence Australia deployed a contingent of Australian Defence Force personnel to UNMISS, a deployment which is ongoing.  As a member of the UN Security Council, Australia co-sponsored a UNSC decision on 24 December to strengthen UNMISS in the protection of civilians and also provided much-needed airlift capacity following the latest outbreak of conflict.  We continue to work with other members of the UNSC to push for a peaceful resolution to the crisis.  

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