The Human Rights Council should respond to the gravity of the situation in South Sudan - Priority #HRC28 #HRC29

Press release

Since the outbreak of the conflict in South Sudan in December 2013, the gross violations and abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law committed by all parties have had a devastating impact on the civilian population, with thousands of civilians killed and nearly two million displaced by the conflict. Civilians have been the main targets of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, rape and other acts of sexual violence, looting, destruction of property, forced recruitment of children , which may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

More than a year later, prospects of accountability for violations of international humanitarian and human rights law remain uncertain.

Different regional initiatives were undertaken to bring the crisis to an end, including political mediation led by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and the establishment by the African Union – following the call of a large number of South Sudanese and international civil society organizations, including FIDH – of the African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan (AUCISS) to “investigate the human rights violations and other abuses committed during the armed conflict in South Sudan and make recommendations on the best ways and means to ensure accountability, reconciliation and healing among all South Sudanese communities”. However, we believe that human rights violations and abuses of such gravity and scale are intrinsically a matter of serious concern to the international community as a whole.

In light of the failure of the international community to bring about accountability and justice, and given the Human Rights Council’s (HRC) mandate to “address situations of violations of human rights, including gross and systematic violations”, the Council should respond immediately and decisively to the human rights crisis in South Sudan, in order to prevent the country from re-sinking into chaos. To this end, the Council should adopt a resolution addressing the calls from many delegations during the high-level Panel Discussion on South Sudan that took place at its 27th session (September 2014), to consider the creation of a UN Special Rapporteur with a mandate to monitor and publicly report on the human rights situation in South Sudan.

During the 28th session of the Council (HRC 28, March 2015), FIDH will engage in advocacy on the role of the HRC in breaking the cycle of impunity in South Sudan, including by organizing a side event in cooperation with Amnesty International, the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project, Human Rights Watch and the International Commission of Jurists.

FIDH also co-signed a letter to members and observers of the Human Rights Council urging them to ensure that the Council addresses the atrocities committed in South Sudan in a manner that reflects the gravity of the situation, together with the following NGOs: Amnesty International, Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO), the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project, Human Rights Watch and the South Sudan Law Society (SSLS).

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