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South Sudan: Human Rights Council should Ensure Ongoing International Scrutiny, Investigations

HRW statement - Item 2: Enhanced interactive dialogue on the report of the Commission of Human Rights on advancing the human rights in South Sudan

Delegates sit at the opening of the 41th session of the Human Rights Council, at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, June 24, 2019. © 2019 Magali Girardin/Keystone via AP

Mr. President,

We thank the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan for their latest report and update.

We share the Commission’s concerns over “entrenched systematic repression,” including through media censorship, widespread restrictions on civic and political activities, and continued harassment of journalists and human rights defenders.

The authorities are still failing to provide accountability for grave abuses, allowing impunity to fuel further violence, as the Commission has repeatedly highlighted, with civilians bearing the brunt of widespread attacks, state-sponsored extrajudicial killings, systematic sexual violence against women and girls, and the participation of children in armed forces and armed groups.

For example, the authorities have never prosecuted officials accused of instigating and facilitating attacks on civilians and civilian property in villages in Leer, Koch, and Mayendit counties in early 2022, despite the president launching an investigation into these events.

The government has not met critical milestones set out by the 2018 peace agreement to advance accountability. No steps have been taken to establish a hybrid court, and legislation for the establishment of the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing and for the Compensation and Reparations Authority has yet to be presented before parliament.

In this context of continued impunity fuelling grave abuses, we appeal to members of this Council to support the renewal of the Commission’s mandate.

We would like to ask the Commission to elaborate further on the main obstacles in the justice system thwarting credible accountability for serious violations, including widespread sexual violence.

Thank you.

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