South Sudan needs accountability and civic space, says UN expert

By Aweye Teddy Onam

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk, has hinted that the young nation is standing at “crossroads” saying however, with the help of the international partners, the government can decide to work for durable peace.

Volker was addressing Human Rights Council in its 52nd session held in Geneva on Tuesday.

“The world’s youngest nation stands at a crossroads. But the Government, with the support of the international community, has the opportunity to choose the path of healing and sustainable peace. Strengthening accountability and civic space is critical”, the UN High Commissioner for human rights said in a statement seen by No.1 Citizen Newspaper.

He expressed in the statement that the rights body should commit to escort South Sudan in its quest for liberty and fairness.

“In this milestone year as we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which set out the benchmark for human rights for everyone, everywhere, we need to be ready to continue to accompany the people of South Sudan on their journey to lasting dignity, freedom and justice”.

The human rights commissioner noted some progress toward justice, but said much has not been done to have a functioning Hybrid Court for the country.

“On transitional justice, some progress has been made towards the establishment of the Commission on Truth, Reconciliation and Healing under the Revitalized Peace Agreement, with drafting of the Bill for this Commission, as well as the Compensation and Reparation Authority Bill, ongoing. Yet, there has been little progress in operationalizing the Hybrid Court for South Sudan. I urge the Government of South Sudan to advance this core issue”.

Besides, he said “I urge the Government to uphold its international obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law, including by protecting civilians from attack and ensuring accountability for violations”.

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