UN commission says South Sudan's end of transition should yield durable peace-Xinhua

UN commission says South Sudan's end of transition should yield durable peace

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-02-19 20:11:15

JUBA, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- United Nations human rights experts on Monday called on South Sudan leaders to properly navigate the conclusion of the country's political transition to realize durable peace and prevent violence and serious human rights violations.

The UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan welcomed the country's completion of the process for becoming a State Party to several core UN international human rights treaties.

Yasmin Sooka, chairperson of the commission, said establishing a unified national army and transitional justice processes to deal with the past and the root causes of the conflict is indispensable.

"Our investigations have found that the violence and gross human rights violations continue with impunity, with women and children being the main target of these crimes," Sooka said in a statement issued in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, after the completion of a five-day visit.

She said critical security arrangements and an independent justice system supported by constitutional processes provided under the Revitalized Agreement are essential to avoiding a return to conflict following elections.

The commission said these processes under the 2018 Revitalized Agreement lay the foundations for sustainable peace and human rights protection, yet none is even close to completion, even though the transitional arrangements conclude following the elections planned for December.

Barney Afako, commissioner at the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan, said South Sudan's leaders must end the political and local conflicts and contestations that have brought so much pain and suffering to the people.

The leaders should also invest in state and nation-building grounded in respect for diversity and the protection of human rights, Afako said.

During the Feb. 12-17 visit, the commissioners held discussions with President Salva Kiir and other senior government officials and engaged with the civil society, victims and survivors, human rights defenders, diplomats and UN mission officials, the statement said.

The commissioners traveled to the Greater Pibor Administrative Area and Jonglei State where women and children continue to be abducted in violent attacks along ethnic lines, carried out by heavily armed militias.

Carlos Castresana Fernandez, another commissioner at the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan, said victims and their family members told them they are traumatized by the abductions and disillusioned at the lack of support to return their loved ones who are missing or held hostage.

"Their situation reflects the commission's broader findings from investigations across the country, that the population is defenseless against human rights abusers and lacks protection, as the institutions needed to prevent and punish crimes are deprioritized and under-resourced by the state," Fernandez said.

He said addressing the lack of functioning rule of law institutions is urgent, as is the need for an independent referee who can peacefully resolve possible electoral disputes.