Video message by Volker Türk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Conference on Sustaining Momentum for Transitional Justice in South Sudan
Thank you to the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan for convening this important conference. I take this opportunity to acknowledge the work of the Commission, as well as the Human Rights Division of the UN Mission in South Sudan, to advance human rights in the country.
The multitude of challenges that continue to plague South Sudan are enormous: unceasing armed violence, dire humanitarian needs, shrinking civic and political space – all amidst a context of pervasive, entrenched impunity.
In the face of persistent crisis, some important steps are being taken to advance towards peace and transitional justice for the people of South Sudan.
This includes the holding of national consultations on the establishment of the Commission of Truth, Reconciliation and Healing. And the drafting of legislation for the Truth Commission and Reparation Authority has begun.
But without further concrete action, we are far from the reality of justice and peace for South Sudan.
It is crucial that voices of people who have been scarred by decades of war, devastation and poverty be heard.
This will require broader inclusion of all affected - including women and girls, those who had to flee the country and those who have been marginalised - to ensure the design and implementation of transitional justice processes that are truly fit for purpose.
The two-year extension of the peace agreement, set to commence in the coming days, will be one of the most important opportunities for the Government of South Sudan to consolidate and build on the gains achieved so far.
I urge the Government, with the support of the international community, to fast track the pending aspects of the peace agreement especially related to transitional justice, while ensuring broad and inclusive participation and consultation.
The people of South Sudan have suffered for far too long. It is more urgent than ever that the international community continues and strengthens its support to the world's youngest nation on its path of healing and sustainable peace, with accountability at its core.
South Sudan is a critical country of focus both for my Office and for the United Nations Human Rights Council. In this anniversary year for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which set the benchmarks for human rights for everyone, everywhere, we stand ready to continue to support and accompany the people of South Sudan on their journey to lasting peace, democracy and justice.