South Sudan

South Sudan | Evidence gathered by UN Commission the first step on road to justice

ISHR stresses the need for a strong accountability mechanism in South Sudan, and urges the UN Commission on South Sudan to highlight the full extent of violations in the country. 

In a statement to the 36th session of the Human Rights Council, ISHR highlights that lack of accountability for past human rights violations is fueling a cycle of impunity. ISHR further encourages the Government to cooperate with the UN Commission on South Sudan and the African Commission. 

The human rights situation in South Sudan continues to deteriorate. This year thousands of people were killed, often on grounds of ethnicity or perceived political alliance. Millions of children were affected. Sexual violence with impunity is rampant. And over 4 million people were forced to leave their homes.

‘While the Government denies most of these violations, it – as well as the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in-Opposition – is responsible for human rights abuses’, says ISHR Programme Manager Clément Voule.

Freedom of association and expression are severely restricted. Journalists and defenders are frequently arbitrarily detained. Prolonged arbitrary detention is common for Government critics and opponents. Charges are rare and trials are scarce.

‘An example is that of Addil Faris Maray, former director of South Sudan television, who was detained this July without charge. It is integral that the Government take steps to protect the legitimate work of defenders. Their contribution to this struggle is vital, added Voule. 

Lack of accountability for past human rights violations fuels a cycle of impunity. The establishment of a strong accountability mechanism is overdue.

‘We urge the UN Commission on Human Rights to highlight the full extent of violations. We call on the Government to cooperate with the African Union to establish the hybrid court and end the use of court martials in crimes committed by the military against civilians’, stressed Voule.

The Government has initiated a process of national dialogue. How can dialogue deliver when freedom of expression is not protected? The Government stated an intention to establish a truth commission, yet its citizens continue to be slaughtered. It’s time officials and other forces are held to account for crimes against civilians.

Contact: Clément Voule, [email protected]

Photo: Steve Evans via Flickr

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