UN rights chief urges government of South Sudan fulfill its international obligations, protect civilians and ensure accountability
Translated and edited by: Committee for Justice
Geneva: March 7, 2023
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, said that despite calls for a ceasefire and the implementation of the peace agreement in South Sudan, conflict and clashes across the country are resulting in a raft of human rights violations and abuses against its people.
Civilians are at grave risk:
The High Commissioner stated that civilians are at particular risk from armed elements and organized armed groups, which injure, kill and displace thousands. “Around 47 per cent of incidents of violence against civilians are perpetrated by these actors,” he added.
Türk noted that there are about 8.9 million people in urgent need of humanitarian assistance in the country, 2.2 million internally displaced persons, and more than 1.4 million children suffering from malnutrition. “The country remains one of the most dangerous places for humanitarian aid workers. Nine humanitarian workers were killed in 2022, attacks which I condemn in the strongest terms,” he said.
“Civic and political space is shrinking dramatically. We have seen many media outlets close, and journalists and human rights defenders abducted, harassed, intimidated and arbitrarily detained,” Türk said. “Ahead of possible general elections in 2024, the trend of censorship and silencing of some of the political parties is worrying,” he added.
Lack of accountability for violations:
Türk also pointed out that in general, accountability for violations and abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law is still absent, in the context of impunity, the absence or weakness of the judicial infrastructure and the lack of political will, and the number of reported extrajudicial executions is increasing, in flagrant violation of international law.
The High Commissioner urged the Government of South Sudan to fulfill its international obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law, including by protecting civilians from attacks and ensuring accountability for violations.