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Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan remains vital alongside technical cooperation

HRW Statement - Item 10 Interactive Dialogue on report of High Commissioner on South Sudan - HRC49

People are seen at a hospital run by Medicines Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) in Old Fangak in Jonglei state, South Sudan, December 28, 2021. © © 2021 AP Photo/Sam Mednick

Oral statement delivered by Gordon Lam

Thank you, Mr. President, I speak on behalf of Human Rights Watch; this statement is supported by the Dialogue Research Initiative, a South Sudanese civil society organization.

Grave abuses against civilians including forced displacement, rapes, killings and attacks on aid have occurred in the context of government and SPLA-IO clashes in Unity and Upper Nile States, a consequence of the failure to enforce the security arrangements of the 2018 peace deal.

The High Commissioner’s report underlines the lack of accountability for serious abuses for high-ranking officials. It also highlights the ways in which OHCHR, UNMISS and other UN entities are already providing technical support and capacity building to the government.

The Commission has impeccably documented the often-horrendous experiences of South Sudanese and how the parties’ commitments to truth, justice and reparations have not been fulfilled. Civic space continues to shrink inhibiting any effort to address legacies of violence in the country.

I witnessed first-hand the devastation of war when I fought with the SPLA as a child. Now, a whole new generation of young people continues to suffer as I did in my youth. 

Technical cooperation is important but it’s not enough. We believe changing the mandate of the Commission is not only premature but would sanction impunity and further abuses.

We also urge the government of South Sudan to continue its cooperation with the Commission and work towards a sustainable peace and just future for its citizens.

Thank you.

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