“I condemn the recent attacks and counter-attacks in the Abyei region by both sides – this is certainly no way to advance the peaceful coexistence of North and South Sudan,” Navi Pillay said.
“I am particularly alarmed by the shelling of civilian areas in Abyei by the Sudan Armed Forces, as well as reports of aerial bombardment in other locations such as Todacch, Tajalei and in the vicinity of the River Kiir bridge.
“I urge all parties to explore a negotiated solution to the Abyei crisis and to avoid a descent into further conflict and chaos,” she said, adding that all rights violations must be investigated and perpetrators brought to justice.
Abyei, claimed by both north and south, was due to vote on its future alongside a referendum on independence for the south. However, it did not vote due to disagreements over who was eligible to vote.
On Sunday it was seized by northern troops.
The capture, in the run-up to international recognition of southern independence in July, has been condemned by world powers as a threat to peace between north and south Sudan.