The Human Rights Council this morning discussed the situation of human rights in South Sudan, Cambodia and Sudan under its agenda item on technical assistance and capacity building.
At the beginning of the meeting, the Council held a minute of silence at the request of Norway to mark the passing of John Ruggie, the former Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises.
In the enhanced interactive dialogue on South Sudan, Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, welcomed the Government’s intention, expressed during the enhanced dialogue, to work together with all stakeholders towards the full implementation of the Revitalised Peace Agreement and resolving human rights concerns. She shared deep concern over the high levels of violence attributed to community-based militias, which continued to affect innocent civilians, threaten the country’s stability and endanger prospects for lasting peace.
Nicholas Haysom, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for South Sudan and Head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, said that many challenges remained but noted progress that was critical for the overall improvement of the political, security and human rights situation in South Sudan. The ceasefire agreed to in the Revitalised Peace Agreement had largely held and had led to a significant decline in the number of civilian casualties at the hands of the conflict parties since September 2018.
Ruben Madol Arol Kachuol, Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs of South Sudan, said that the Revitalised Government of National Unity had now reached the nearing point into the completion of the implementation of security arrangements. So far, as many as 53,000 forces composed of soldiers from all political parties to the Agreement, were now in various training camps across the country and were ready for graduation. The Government remained committed to the Rome Declaration with the non-signatories to the Revitalised Peace Agreement under the South Sudan Opposition Movement Alliance. This Group had been violating the ceasefire and continued to create instability and havoc. But the Government remained committed to the Cessation of Hostilities of 2017.
In the discussion on South Sudan, speakers commended the continuous efforts of the Government of South Sudan to reduce the level of violence and implement the benefits of the Revitalised Peace Agreement. The international community was urged to continue providing the necessary technical, humanitarian and development support to South Sudan to enable it to build its national institutions and fulfil its human rights obligations. Several speakers shared deep concern about the violence in South Sudan
Speaking on South Sudan were European Union, Cameroon, on behalf of the Group of African States, Togo, Senegal, Egypt, Venezuela, Russian Federation, China, United Kingdom, United Nations Children’s Fund, Mauritania, Sudan and Sri Lanka.
The following non-governmental organizations also took the floor: Elizka Relief Foundation, Meezan Center for Human Rights, East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project, Amnesty International, International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, Human Rights Watch, and Ingenieurs du Monde.
Nada Al- Nashif, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, welcomed the commitment of Sudan to put in place important economic reforms and strengthen social protections, which could lead to improvements in the lives of the Sudanese people and their access to key economic, social and cultural rights.
She noted that Darfur continued to experience multifaceted human rights challenges since the withdrawal of the Hybrid United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur. These included harassment, intimidation, extortion of civilians and sexual violence against women and girls by armed groups, as well as intercommunal violence, resulting in civilian casualties and destruction of civilian objects.
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