STORY: UN Commission on Human Rights South Sudan – Report launch
TRT: 2 min 46s
SOURCE: UNTV CH
ASPECT RATIO: 16:9
DATELINE: 7 March 2023 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
Impunity as main driver of human rights and humanitarian crises in South Sudan is key finding of latest report of the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan
More gross human rights violations throughout the country, including widespread and horrific attacks against civilians and State-sponsored extrajudicial killings have been documented by the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan in its latest report presented on Tuesday to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Violence against civilians persists which is fueled by pervasive impunity, which is one of the report’s key findings.
“We have found that prevailing impunity is a major driver of this crisis, and that this crisis in turn caused immense suffering,” said Andrew Clapham, Expert Members of the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan, speaking to the media at the UN in Geneva.
Addressing impunity in South Sudan is critical for stability and a peaceful future, according to the members of the Commission. Senior public officials and military officers should be held accountable for serious crimes.
“The report covers State sponsored extrajudicial killings; we have described multiple situations where State actors are the primary perpetrators of serious crimes under South Sudan’s laws as well as under international law,” said Professor Clapham. “Members of these armed non state groups are also identified as the perpetrators of violent crimes carried out in various areas of conflict.”
Based on investigations undertaken in South Sudan and the neighbouring region throughout 2022 the report identifies “widespread attacks carried out against civilians, systematic sexual violence against women and girls and it also details the ongoing presence of children in fighting forces both on the government side and amongst armed opposition groups,” said Mr. Clapham. He added that the report also “documents how Government officials directed militia to carry out widespread killings, systematic rape, and forced displacement of civilians in Leer county“.
Although the Government has announced special investigation committees, so the UN Commissioner Clapham. Only one such body appears to have carried out inquiries and no reports have been published.
Barney Afako, Expert Member of the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan , said that “we urge the country’s political leaders to shift away from prioritizing their own political and economic ends and instead to address and prioritize the needs and aspirations of South Sudan’s people”.
In 2021 the Government of South Sudan agreed to form a hybrid court to deal with past abuses, accountability and reconciliation to bring justice and healing to all South Sudanese. Once established, the court could be efficient in fighting impunity, said Mr. Clapham.
“It is foreseen that the Hybrid court would have the possibility to prosecute people for Command responsibility,” said Mr. Clapham. “So that’s an important concept because it means that a Commander who has failed to prosecute those under his or her command for war crimes or other crimes that can be prosecuted in the court, could be prosecuted themselves for their omission for failing to act”.
The Commissioners told the Council that South Sudan can be different, and that the 2018 Revitalized Peace Agreement remains the main pathway to address the conflict and lead the country to a new, more stable future.
According to Mr. Afako, “the 2018 Revitalized Peace Agreement remains an important framework to address the conflict, to address questions of repression, and the corruption that cause immense suffering and undermine the prospects of peace. He added that “the agreement also charts a pathway for South Sudanese to make a permanent constitution. This is something they have not done since Independence in 2011.“