South Sudan expels U.N. human rights officer

JUBA Sun Nov 4, 2012 12:56pm EST

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JUBA (Reuters) - South Sudan said on Sunday it had expelled a U.N. human rights investigator, accusing her of writing false reports, a move the U.N. mission said broke the country's legal obligations to the United Nations.

U.N. sources, who named the officer as Sandra Beidas, said the expulsion may have been related to an August report accusing the army of torturing, raping, killing and abducting civilians.

South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in July last year under a 2005 peace deal that ended a decades-long civil war in which some 2 million people died. Sporadic conflict has continued in disputed border areas.

Human rights groups accuse the new nation, which depends heavily on Western donors, of allowing abuses by its security forces, mostly composed of poorly-trained former guerrilla and militia fighters.

Government spokesman Barnaba Marial Benjamin said the officer had been "writing reports which have no truth in them". He did not elaborate.

Hilde Johnson, head of the U.N. mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), called the expulsion a "breach of the legal obligations of the government of the Republic of South Sudan under the charter of the United Nations."

Rights groups Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have accused South Sudan's army of gross human rights violations during a disarmament campaign aimed at stopping inter-tribal warfare in Jonglei.

(Reporting by Hereward Holland; Editing by Alexander Dziadosz and Robin Pomeroy)

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