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South Sudan: Authorities should advance human rights reform agenda

South Sudanese authorities should urgently advance and implement a comprehensive human rights agenda to improve the human rights in the country and address impunity, end repression and ensure rights protection, the South Sudan Human Rights Defenders Network, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today in a briefing as the country’s human rights record comes under the spotlight at the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).

Children, older people, pregnant women and people with disabilities, are impacted by the ongoing human rights violations in South Sudan

Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International's Director for East and Southern Africa

During its UPR in 2016, South Sudan accepted to adopt a human rights agenda but has failed to do so. The three organizations urge the Government of South Sudan to implement this commitment without further delay.

In a 16-page briefing, the three organizations outline 10 priority rights concerns in line with the country’s human rights obligations, including under the Bill of Rights, international and regional standards, the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) and pledges it made at its Universal Periodic Review in 2016. A comprehensive human rights agenda would offer a strong framework for the government to effectively implement these obligations and recommendations made at its UPR review on 31 January.

The organizations are calling on the Government of South Sudan to urgently address several concerns, including right to health, unlawful killings and the use of the death penalty, obstruction of humanitarian aid and violations of the right to food, water and education. They are also calling on authorities to take further steps to ensure truth, justice and reparations for victims of past and ongoing violations and abuses resulting from the conflict that broke out in December 2013.

The briefing outlines the multiple and interconnected ways in which diverse groups in South Sudan, including children, older people, pregnant women and people with disabilities, are impacted by these human rights violations.

Proposed reforms will need sustained international assistance and donor cooperation as well as domestic political leadership to fulfil human rights, including economic, social, and cultural rights

Deprose Muchena

In some cases, the proposed reforms will need sustained international assistance and donor cooperation as well as domestic political leadership to fulfil human rights, including economic, social, and cultural rights. But there are immediate steps that the Government of South Sudan can and should take to fulfil its primary legal obligations.

Background

Under the Universal Periodic Review system, the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva reviews the human rights record of each of the 193 UN member states every five years. South Sudan’s human rights record was examined on 31 January 2022, by the UN Human Rights Council’s UPR Working Group for the second time since independence from Sudan in 2011.