Human Rights Council: 32nd Session
The East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project and CIVICUS welcome this enhanced interactive dialogue with national, regional and international stakeholders on the grave situation in South Sudan.
Mr President, the establishment of a Commission on human rights in South Sudan at the 31st Session of the Council and the appointment of Commissioners last week represent a welcome step towards accountability for the victims of grave human rights violations in Africa’s newest nation. The Commission represents an important opportunity for regional and international cooperation in response to one of the most brutal conflicts happening in the world today.
While mechanisms have been developed to ensure heightened scrutiny of human rights violations and pave the road towards accountability - and ultimately peace - in South Sudan, our organisations are extremely concerned about the growing number of human rights defenders being targeted through threats, intimidation, kidnappings and torture.
Local civil society wishing to take an active part in or report on the implementation of the peace agreement, including Chapter V relating to the establishment of a hybrid court, have reported being threatened and targeted for their work. Many journalists attempting to objectively report the conflict, the Transitional Government of National Unity and the peace agreement are being forced to either do so anonymously or from outside the country.
Today, human rights defenders ask not only for truth and reconciliation in South Sudan, but also for justice and accountability. It is critical to the successful implementation of the Peace Agreement that they are given the opportunity to participate safely and effectively in these processes.
Mr President, we strongly urge the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission for the Agreement of the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan, the South Sudan Human Rights Commission, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, and the newly mandated UN Commission on the situation of human rights in South Sudan to not only encourage but also facilitate the active involvement of local civil society in the peace process in order to achieve sustainable peace, stability and the respect for all human rights in South Sudan.