Statement on human rights abuses in South Sudan

UN Human Rights Council - 26th Special Session
Special Session on South Sudan

CIVICUS welcomes this Special Session following the findings and recommendations recently put forward by the Expert Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan.  We agree with the assessment that South Sudan is on the verge of an unprecedented spate of violence which has strong ethnic connotations.  

We are deeply concerned by ethnically-motivated hate speech by all sides and the targeting of South Sudanese on the basis of ethnicity and gender.

Mr. President, we are appalled by the use of sexual violence against women and girls substantiated by the Commission’s findings that approximately 70% of women have been victims of sexual violence in Juba alone since December 2013. 

The wanton destruction of villages, targeting of civilian healthcare facilities and places of worship, obstruction of convoys transporting humanitarian assistance and targeting of civilians seeking refuge all represent grave violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. 

We are further concerned by violent attacks on journalists, representatives of the media outlets, human rights defenders and civil society organisations which deeply hinders their essential work to monitor and document human rights abuses and contributes to the impunity enjoyed by perpetrators of these actions.

Mr President, in light of these and other human rights violations documented by the Expert Commission, we urge the Council to take concerted and swift action to ensure protection of civilians, facilitate a peaceful resolution to the conflict and end impunity for violations of international humanitarian law.

Specifically, we call on the international community to support an arms embargo which will curtail the movement of legal arms into the country and to deploy an urgent regional protection force across South Sudan.

We further urge the government and international community to expedite the process of establishing and fully operationalising a hybrid court to bring to justice those responsible for the violence and serve as a deterrent to future violations.