South Sudan: the Commission’s mandate remains crucial as the civil & political space continues to deteriorate.

Statement at the 52nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council

Enhanced Interactive Dialogue on the report of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan

Delivered by Nicola Paccamiccio

Thank you, Mr President,

CIVICUS and its South Sudanese partners welcome the report of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan. The Commission’s mandate remains crucial as the human rights situation worsens and the civil and political space continues to deteriorate.

Freedoms of assembly, association and expression are under severe threat. In the past year, South Sudanese authorities have continued, with impunity, to repress and harass peaceful protesters and civil society actors. Many are subjected to arbitrary arrests, detentions and extrajudicial killings.

Freedom of association remains severely restricted as civil society organisations are subjected to raids by the National Security Service and activists calling for good governance and the rule of law are harassed, intimidated and arrested. Journalists continue to face threats, intimidation, and arbitrary arrests resulting in self-censorship.

The high levels of localised violence and the increase of conflict-related sexual violence, including the use of rape and gang rape as a weapon of war, are of great concern. Nationally instigated intercommunal conflicts in Tonj, Warrap State, Magwi, Nimule and Kapoeta in Eastern Equatoria State, as well as in Greater Upper Nile State, and parts of greater Jonglei and Unity State are alarming. This situation is worsened by the numerous obstacles to humanitarian aid, reported intimidation and harassment of and attacks against humanitarian workers, including killings, and extrajudicial executions of prisoners.

In light of the ongoing restrictions on civic space in the country, we call on the Council to extend the mandate of the Commission for a further period of two years to ensure continued scrutiny on the human rights situation in the country and to enable it to comprehensively report on the election and transition process.

We thank you.

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



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