Extend the mandate of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan

Statement at the 46th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

Delivered by Paul Mulindwa

CIVICUS and our CSO partners in South Sudan thank the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan for their comprehensive report. We welcome this crucial scrutiny, currently the only way in which human rights in South Sudan can be examined.

While we welcome the formation of the Unity Government provided for in the Revitalised Peace Agreement, we are seriously concerned that key areas of this agreement have stalled, particularly around governance and security sector reform, posing severe threats to the peace process. The country continues to face major governance, security, and humanitarian issues. Violence continues in regions across the country, destabilising safety and livelihoods.

The human rights situation in South Sudan remains dire and continues to worsen. Civic space is closed, with restrictions on freedom of speech, expression, peaceful assembly, and association. Independent and critical voices are targeted with arbitrary arrest and detention, sexual violence, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. With pervasive surveillance of journalists, activists, and human rights defenders by security operatives, these amount to attempts to deliberately and systematically terrorise such voices into ceasing their work.

We urge the Council to ensure the continuation of the mandate of the UN Commission on South Sudan and extend the Commission’s mandate further and in full. We call on the government of South Sudan to fully implement Revitalised Peace Agreement.

To the Commission, we ask which human rights reform benchmarks you suggest as the highest priorities for monitoring progress in the country?

 Civic space in South Sudan is rated as Closed by the CIVICUS Monitor