The UK thanks the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan for its important work and detailed report. We welcome South Sudan’s cooperation so far and urge continued engagement.
We welcome the peace agreement of September 2018, which has led to an overall reduction in conflict. However, we are deeply concerned about ongoing violations and abuses that could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, including since September. These include targeting of civilians and brutal sexual violence.
We welcome the Commission’s focus on prevalent thematic issues, such as the securitization of the State, repression of freedom of expression, and arbitrary detention and torture. The Commission plays a unique role in exposing these issues, and in providing technical support on transitional justice and accountability.
Impunity and silencing of human rights defenders are drivers for continuing abuses and violations. We urge the Government of South Sudan to engage fully with this Council, and others, to address concerns and ensure the peace agreement delivers change. A culture of denial and attacking the very organisations that support survivors and victims, like MSF, is unacceptable and undermines progress made by the Government as a result of the peace deal.
The Foreign Minister has assured this Council of the Government’s commitment to delivering a sustainable peace. This must be demonstrated through action. We urge the Government to respect the rights and freedoms of its people. That starts with an honest assessment of the challenge. We urge Member States to renew the Commission’s mandate.
We would like to ask the Commission what more can be done to bring an end to incidents of arbitrary arrest and torture and encourage due process to be respected?
Thank you, Mr Vice-President.
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