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Human Rights Council 31, Geneva: UK Statement regarding the human rights situation in South Sudan

UK Statement delivered during the Interactive Dialogue on the human rights situation in South Sudan at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, 22 March 2016.

The Human Rights Council takes place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva
The Human Rights Council takes place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva

Mr Vice President,

The UK thanks the High Commissioner and his Office for its report, which adds weight to reports already published by the AU and other UN bodies. The findings are truly shocking.

Tens of thousands killed.

Thirteen hundred women and girls raped. In a six month period. In just one country.

60 people suffocated to death in a shipping container.

And almost no action taken to respond. As the report clearly outlines in its annex, the South Sudan government and the oppositon have announced their committment to a number of human rights initiatives, but none of these have so far been fully acted upon. We call on the South Sudan government to release its own report into its investigations of Human Rights immediately.

Mr Vice President,

The High Commissioner’s report is unflinching in its tone and so should we be in our response. It is clear that horrific violations and abuses of human rights have taken place. The report says war crimes and crimes against humanity may have been committed. It is not this Council’s role to pass legal judgement but we should urge that the Hybrid Court be established as soon as possible. We call on the South Sudanese parties to form the transitional government of national unity, and ensure that government is fully committed to improving human rights.

Until such a time, the sad truth is that we can have little confidence that the South Sudanese authorities will act. We therefore strongly urge Member States to agree to establish a Special Rapporteur in order to work with the parties to improve the human rights sitution and send a message to the people of South Sudan that the UN’s premier human rights body is taking action. It is the very least they deserve.

Thank you Mr President.

Published 22 March 2016