GENEVA (26 October 2015) – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has begun deploying a mission to South Sudan to conduct an assessment of the human rights situation in the country, given reports of alleged serious violations and abuses committed by both parties to the conflict.
The first three members of the ten-strong assessment mission, mandated by the UN Human Rights Council, arrived in Juba at the end of last week. The mission will focus on the human rights violations that have affected civilians since the outbreak of violence in the country in December 2013. The assessment report will be presented to the Human Rights Council at its next session in March 2016.
“The team will examine violations of international human rights law and of international humanitarian law committed by actors on both sides of the political divide,” High Commissioner Zeid said. “Given the time constraints, this will be a preliminary assessment, building on the work done by the human rights division of the UN Mission in South Sudan, and it will advise the Human Rights Council on appropriate follow-up action.”
The High Commissioner said the report, based on its findings and assessment, would contain recommendations for ways to improve the human rights situation in the country and to ensure accountability for gross violations.
The Human Rights Council in resolution A/HRC/RES/29/13 stressed the importance of an objective assessment of the human rights situation in South Sudan and called for the deployment of a mission “to monitor and report on the situation of human rights, and to undertake a comprehensive assessment of allegations of violations and abuses of human rights with a view to ensuring accountability and in complementarity with the African Union Commission of Inquiry.”
The resolution also called on the mission “to assess the effectiveness of steps taken by the Government of South Sudan to ensure accountability for human rights violations and abuses, which could include work to establish appropriate criminal justice mechanisms; to decrease and prevent violence against children and the recruitment of child soldiers; to investigate, arrest and prosecute perpetrators of any human rights violations and abuses, and of rape and sexual violence, including those in armed groups and the military; to investigate, arrest and prosecute perpetrators of targeted killings; to increase democratic space, especially for the media and civil society; and to prevent arbitrary detention.”
Zeid said his team looked forward to the full cooperation and support of the Government of South Sudan and the SPLM/IO.
Full text of the HRC resolution: http://ap.ohchr.org/documents/dpage_e.aspx?si=A/HRC/RES/29/13
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