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UK Statement at Panel Discussion on South Sudan, Human Rights Council, Geneva

Statement delivered by the UK on 24 September in which the UK affirms its strong support for the peace talks in Ethiopia and encourages the participation of women.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Inside the Human Rights Council
The Human Rights Council is taking place from 8 to 26 September in Geneva

Mr. President,

The human rights situation in South Sudan remains deeply concerning. The fighting has led to appalling human rights violations, including the targeting of civilians, sexual violence and recruitment of child soldiers. It has left over 1.7 million people displaced and vulnerable.

Solving the conflict is essential to improve the human rights situation. The UK strongly supports the peace talks in Ethiopia, and we encourage the participation of women in line with UNSCR 1325. But peace is not enough by itself. Violations must be documented, investigated, and those responsible held to account.

To that end, we fully support the AU Commission of Inquiry. We hope its final report will be as detailed as possible, to allow for follow-up action. We call on the Government of South Sudan to act on its recommendations as well as the issues highlighted by the UNMISS report in May.

We also call for wider public reporting on the human rights situation. We welcome recent reports by OHCHR and NGOs as important contributions towards building a clear picture of atrocities. As well as UNMISS’s mandate to produce regular and public human rights reporting, we call for the creation of a Special Procedures mandate to monitor and report on the situation to the Human Rights Council.

Finally, we are seriously concerned by a worrying trend of increased restrictions upon, and threats to, the media and civil society, such as those attending this session of the Human Rights Council.

The process of recovery from this conflict will be difficult. The people of South Sudan deserve a government that is representative of all its people and responsive to their needs. Justice, Human Rights and accountability must be at the centre of this.

We would therefore like to ask the panel what their specific recommendations would be to deliver this accountability?

Published 25 September 2014