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Published on Mar 30, 2017
International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (EAFORD)
Human Rights Council Thirty-Fourth Session, 14th March 2017 Interactive Dialogue with the Commission on South Sudan
Delivered by Mr. Mutua Kobia
Thank you Mr. Vice-President,
Grave human rights violations in South Sudan persist and spread to previously unaffected areas where farmers are expelled from their land and more civilians are discriminately targeted, attacked, and killed based on ethnicity and/or allegiance as indicated in numerous reports.
Property, homes, humanitarian goods, livestock, farming land, and villages are looted and torched. The escalating severity and scale of sexual violence, rape, and gang rape of women and girls by warring parties cause severe mental and emotional breakdowns and trauma. Victims were selected by ethnicity or allegiance regardless of age while perpetrators enjoyed impunity.
Altogether, reported crimes constitute ‘genocide’ as defined under Articles 1a through c of the ‘Convention on Genocide’ warranting immediate peaceful action in response to and in solidarity with the South Sudanese people. Notwithstanding atrocities and difficulties in bringing about peace, acknowledgement of on-the-ground peace, reconciliation, and empowerment organizations and programs is essential.
Accountability is two-fold; the UN and global community must protect civilians and hold perpetrators accountable. To reiterate Stephen O’Brien of OCHA, further reports on violations are futile; action or non-action will be testament to our efficacy, responsibility, and worth.
NGOs signatories to this statement recommend:
The South Sudanese government:
• To uphold the “Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan” for immediate and permanent Cease-fire; • Ensure all South Sudanese women their right to be actively involved in and engaged with the peace process, especially at the discussion and decision-making table for a gender-responsive peace agreement; • Enforce Geneva Convention (IV) relative to “Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.” Specifically Article 27 for protection of women against sexual violence and increase security on sites of refuge;
That the Council:
• Pressure all relevant parties to impose immediate arms embargo as in Annex of Security Council Resolution 2304; including targeted sanctions and freezing of assets that fund the war; • Enhance psychosocial and mental health care services for victims of all trauma;
That the Commission and international community:
• Reach out, support, and engage local grass roots peace and reconciliation organizations, projects, and forums.