Following the United Nations Human Rights Council’s decision to renew the mandate of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan (CHRSS), Tigere Chagutah, Amnesty International’s Acting Regional Director for East and Southern Africa, said:
The decision of the Council to renew the CHRSS is an important signal from the Human Rights Council that accountability is key.Tigere Chagutah, Regional Director, East and Southern Africa
“The decision of the Council to renew the CHRSS is an important signal from the Human Rights Council that accountability is key, as South Sudan embarks on the extended phase of the 2018 revitalized peace agreement. The pervasive impunity in South Sudan perpetuates cycles of violence. In this context, the CHRSS plays an invaluable role in collecting and preserving evidence of crimes under international law, which can be used for future prosecutions.
“In South Sudan, people are still living amid armed conflict and regularly face attacks, unlawful killings, displacement and rape. Many people also suffer from limited access to water, food and basic medical health care, in part due to the high levels of insecurity. The human rights concerns that necessitated the creation of the CHRSS in 2016 continue to persist, and the government has done too little to warrant the lifting of scrutiny by the Council. We deeply regret the efforts of some states, including the Government of South Sudan, to block the renewal of this vital mechanism.
The government has done too little to warrant the lifting of scrutiny by the Council.Tigere Chagutah
“South Sudan must urgently improve its human rights situation by holding perpetrators of war crimes and other violations of humanitarian law to account. The country should also cooperate fully with the CHRSS as it continues its important work.”
In March 2016, the UN Human Rights Council established the CHRSS and mandated it to “collect and preserve evidence of, and clarify responsibility for alleged gross violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes, including sexual and gender-based violence and ethnic violence, with a view to ending impunity and providing accountability, and to make such information available also to all transitional justice mechanisms.”
In addition, the Commission also has an important task of providing technical assistance to the Government of South Sudan to establish a holistic transitional justice programme enshrined in the 2015 and 2018 peace agreements.
Since 2016, the resolution renewing the Commission had been adopted by consensus, yet in March 2021, South Sudan rejected a renewal of the mechanism.
This year, the resolution was adopted by a vote of 19 in favour, 09 against, and 19 abstentions.