By Bida Elly David
Civil Society Organization has commended the decision taken by the President of the Republic of South Sudan on the formation of the national human rights council as strategic institution that deals with human rights protection and promotion directly with the office of the President.
On the 11th June, 2022. President Salva Kiir has formed a human rights council for advocacy and promotion of human rights in the country. The council is composed of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Interior; Gender, Child and Welfare as well as the Defense and Child Protection Unit. While the council will be chaired by the Minister of Justice and Constitution Affairs, the team shall be responsible for strengthening public outreach advocacy and promotion of human rights within the country. The council reports to the office of the president as patron of the council.
In a statement extended to No.1. Citizen Daily News Paper, Mr. Edmund Yakani, the Executive Director of CEPO said that the formation of the council was a progressive step in championing the agenda of human rights in the country but should not undermine the reconstitution of the Human Rights Commission as per the article 126.96.36.199 and chapter 5 of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan together with Revitalized Transitional Constitution chapter 4 or (articles 145-146).
He said that it was essential for the Council to have a clear mandate that would not jeopardize the functions of the other established human rights entities in the constitution and Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan.
“The newly established Human Rights Council structuring should be inclusive of the other actors such as civil society, media, women, youth, private sector, persons with disabilities and faith-based leaders’’ he said.
Furthermore, Yakani underscored that the situation of the human rights protection across the country is not encouraging due to less political will and national financial investment in the sector.
“We are hoping that established human rights council will play effective role in winning political and financial commitment for promotion and protection of human rights across the country. I urge the formed human rights council to play influential role on encouraging the government for ratification of important regional and international human rights treaties and instruments’’ He said Finally, Yakani echoed that CEPO is enthusiastic to partner with the human rights council and collaborate for effective human rights outreach engagement with the citizens.