South Sudan: Political violence on the rise, UN rights experts warn |

United Nations Human Rights Commission in South Sudan speak on Friday, the lack of progress on implementing key provisions of a 2018 peace deal contributed to persistent insecurity and the retribution that allowed violations to occur.

“There is consensus among key stakeholders that while some progress has been made in the implementation of the Revitalization Agreement, important elements are related to security sector reform, constitutional reform and elections, and transitional justice remains unresolved. All of these emerging issues have an impact on the human rights situation in the country,” Yasmin Sooka, Chairman of the Committee said.

After independence in 2011, brutal civil conflict broke out two years later between Government forces led by President Salva Kiir and militias loyal to his political rival, Riek Machar.

Fighting eased after the two men signed the deal in 2018, but according to the United Nations Special Representative to the country, Security Council In December, the upward momentum is in danger of stalling.

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (right) shakes hands with leader Riek Machar after signing a peace agreement to end the conflict in the country (September 2018).

UNMISS / Nektarios Markogiannis

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir (right) shakes hands with leader Riek Machar after signing a peace agreement to end the conflict in the country (September 2018).

Peace and justice

Ms Sooka and Commissioners Barney Afako and Andrew Clapham, will wrap up their visit to South Sudan on Saturday, after traveling to the capital Juba and to Yei in the southwest.

They are tasked with investigating human rights situations, assisting with sanctions relief, and collecting and preserving evidence that will be made available to transitional justice mechanisms, including an established joint tribunal. under the peace agreement.

The Trustees held discussions with a wide range of people, including ministers and senior government officials, civil society, survivors of human rights violations and abuses, activists religious leaders, members of the diplomatic community, United Nations agencies and the United Nations Mission in the country, MISS.

“Most of South Sudan with whom the Commission spoke expressed their desire for political leadership to ensure peace and justice, to which the Agreement lays out a road map.” Mrs. Sooka said.

Meanwhile, civil society representatives said they were afraid to discuss the human rights situation for fear of reprisal by the security services.

Support accountability

During a meeting with the Ministry of Justice, the Committee reaffirmed its readiness to assist the Government in the full implementation of Chapter V of the Agreement – which addresses transitional justice, accountability, reconciliation and healing. – builds on a joint workshop held in December in Nairobi, Kenya.

The Committee pointed out that a lack of progress in implementing key provisions of the agreement contributes to insecurity and sanctions, including the unification and deployment of armed forces, as well as the agreement. agreement on the command structure.

They said violence remains widespread at the local level and is characterized by displacement and serious human rights abuses, including sexual violence.

“Yei is a case in point where soldiers waiting to become part of an under-resourced unified national force and then falling prey to the people,” their statement said.

At a ‘tipping point’

Mr Afako warned South Sudan would hold elections next year, but the country was at a “tipping point”.

“The pursuit of elections risks serious violence and polarization if the necessary institutions, constitutional and electoral laws, and logistical arrangements are not put in place first.” he say.

“It’s also important to look beyond election timing and ask what political system people will vote for, especially given the delay in formulating a constitution based on elections.”

Chapter VI of the peace agreement provides for the construction of a permanent constitution, on which the future political system will be built.

The Trustees consider that if done well, the constitution-making process can help address the root causes of persistent conflict and insecurity. On the other hand, if not handled well, it can deepen existing grievances and possibly lead to future conflicts.

Basic information about the Commission

This latest visit marks the United Nations Commission’s ninth visit to South Sudan.

The Commission was established in March 2016 by the UN Dong Nhan Quyen Association and is an independent agency.

The three Commissioners are not employees of the United Nations and they do not receive salaries from the Organization.

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