UN council urges gov’t to respect human rights

UN council urges gov’t to respect human rights
Michelle Bachelet Jeria, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

The UN Human Rights Council has called on the government of South Sudan to honor the freedom of expression enshrined in the country’s transitional constitution.

In a statement seen by The City Review on Thursday, the council lamented the  ‘concerning’ continued violence in the country. 

“The United Kingdom has welcomed the government of South Sudan’s commitment to addressing human rights concerns and recognized progress made in the implementation of the 2018 peace agreement. However, three years since the agreement was signed, the real benefits are yet to be felt by ordinary South Sudanese,” the statement read partly.

 “The severe suffering caused by ongoing violence, including sexual and gender-based violence, displacement, and arbitrary detentions, is unacceptable,” the Council further notes in the statement.

 “Recently increased restrictions on freedom of expression in response to calls for peaceful protest are also of deep concern.”

The Council urged the authorities to deliver on their commitments to improve the situation, and uphold freedom of speech as guaranteed in the Transitional Constitution.

It also called for the continuous monitoring of the human rights situation in the country to hold responsible the perpetrators.

“Evidence of continued human rights violations and abuses is clear. As a Council, the ongoing human rights situation in South Sudan should demand our full attention,” it said.

 “We remain of the view that robust monitoring, particularly through the continuation of the Commission of Human Rights in South Sudan is essential to fully understand and addressing the human rights situation. We urge members to consider this when the issue returns to the Council’s agenda on 2022.”

In April this year, the EU embassies of France, Germany, and the Netherlands, Office of the Swedish Embassy in Juba raised concerns over the arrest of activists on the failure to honor people’s constitutional rights to peacefully protest.

The statement added that in supporting the implementation of the Peace Agreement, the European Union urged that it was imperative to guarantee every citizen the right to freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly.

“This entails allowing all kind of political expressions in the country, including peaceful demonstrations, with the view to ensure, inter alia, the success of the permanent constitution-making that shall be led and owned by the people of South Sudan,” the statement partly ready in April 2021.

However, the Human Rights Council called for support to build the capacity of South Sudan’s government to address human rights issues in the country.  

“The UK is proud of the help we provide to the people of South Sudan. As part of that assistance, we are clear that South Sudan should receive technical support from the international community to help address these human rights issues.”