Impunity fuels cycles of ‘horrific’ crime in South Sudan, according to the Human Rights Council

Date:

Impunity fuels cycles of 'horrific' crime in South Sudan, according to the Human Rights Council.

  • News by AUN News correspondent
  • Wednesday, March 08, 2023
  • AUN News – ISSN: 2949-8090

Summary:

  • “The report identifies widespread attacks against civilians, systematic sexual violence against women and girls, the continued presence of children in fighting forces, and State-sponsored extrajudicial killings based on investigations conducted in South Sudan and the neighbouring region throughout 2022. Einsteineruploaded with members of the Commission informed the Council that South Sudan “can be different” and that the 2018 Revitalized Peace Agreement, which ended a devastating civil war, is still the basis for dealing with conflict, repression, and corruption.

  • “The challenge of promoting peace and human rights in South Sudan is enormous,” Mr Afako added.

  • “We have documented human rights crimes in South Sudan for many years.

  • “He described the number of victims as “staggering” at the moment.

  • The Human Rights Division identified 714 incidences of violence involving 3,469 persons in 2022.

“It is difficult to foresee peace when State actors continue to engage in serious human rights breaches,” said Commission member Barney Afako, speaking at the Human Rights Council in Geneva to submit the newest report.

“A true show of the Government’s stated commitment to peace and human rights would entail the dismissal of relevant officials and the commencement of charges.”

The report identifies widespread attacks against civilians, systematic sexual violence against women and girls, the continued presence of children in fighting forces, and State-sponsored extrajudicial killings based on investigations conducted in South Sudan and the neighbouring region throughout 2022.

Einsteineruploaded with

Members of the Commission informed the Council that South Sudan “can be different” and that the 2018 Revitalized Peace Agreement, which ended a devastating civil war, is still the basis for dealing with conflict, repression, and corruption.

The agreement also lays the groundwork for South Sudanese to draught a permanent constitution that will improve the rule of law and respect for human rights, creating the groundwork for national stability, they said.

“The challenge of promoting peace and human rights in South Sudan is enormous,” Mr Afako added.

Civic space is dwindling

While long-delayed progress on a constitution and elections are anticipated for the next 18 months, he claims that the civic space required to make these meaningful has essentially vanished. At the same time, campaigners and journalists face death and imprisonment.

“To protect society from harassment, we must first protect society from harassment,” the officials added.

According to Commission member Andrew Clapham, “otherwise, we will never see an end to the terrible human rights breaches,” senior public leaders and military officers should be held accountable for severe crimes.

Atrocities against civilians

“Attacks on civilians continue precisely because perpetrators are confident of impunity,” he stated.

The conclusions of the research indicate a variety of instances in which state actors are the foremost perpetrators of severe crimes under South Sudanese law and international law. Members of non-state armed groups have also perpetrated violent crimes in numerous war zones.

The UN Commission on Human Rights was established in 2016 to eradicate impunity and deliver responsibility for alleged severe violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes, such as sexual and gender-based violence and ethnic violence.

Its three members are tasked with determining and reporting facts and circumstances of human rights abuses, collecting and preserving evidence, and determining accountability for suspected violations.

Rape on a large scale, sexual violence

“We have documented human rights crimes in South Sudan for many years. We continue to be astounded by the continued bloodshed, including horrendous sexual violence against civilians perpetrated by members of the armed forces, other militias, and armed groups,” Mr Clapham said.

He recalled a recent visit when Commission members met with courageous survivors who told their stories of anguish, loss, and hunger.

“Many told us they are disillusioned and losing hope due to the repeated cycles of violence and instability,” he said.

The study went into depth about particular occurrences, like one in Leer County, when government officials encouraged militias to carry out extensive executions, systematic rape, and forced displacement against inhabitants in a region thought to be loyal to the opposition.

Mr Clapham stated that, despite the Government’s announcement of special inquiry committees on various circumstances investigated by the Commission, just one such body appears to have conducted inquiries, no results have been released, and no connected criminal proceedings have occurred.

Meanwhile, he stated that the Commission is continuing to preserve evidence to facilitate future prosecutions and other accountability actions.

At a critical juncture

“The world’s youngest nation stands at a crossroads,” UN High Commissioner for The Rights Kurt Türk told the Human Rights Council on Tuesday, “but the Government, with the support of the international community, has the opportunity to select a path of reconciliation and sustainable peace. It is vital to improving accountability and civic space.”

He described the number of victims as “staggering” at the moment. The Human Rights Division identified 714 incidences of violence involving 3,469 persons in 2022. There were 1,600 deaths, 988 injuries, and 501 abductions.

Despite appeals for a ceasefire and the execution of the Peace Accord, the country’s war and skirmishes are resulting in a slew of documented human rights crimes and atrocities against its people.

“Generations of South Sudanese have lived in dread, extreme violence, and chronic instability,” he added, urging the Government to follow its commitments under international humanitarian and human rights law, including shielding people from attack and holding violators accountable.

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