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Ambassador Harper: Statement at HRC Panel Discussion on South Sudan
September 24, 2014

Panel Discussion on South Sudan

UN Human Rights Council

27th Session, Geneva
As Delivered by Ambassador Keith Harper
U.S. Representative to the Human Rights Council

September 24, 2014

Mr. Vice-President,

The United States welcomes today’s distinguished panel on South Sudan.  We are gravely concerned about the glaring human rights violations and abuses and other atrocities in South Sudan and the humanitarian crisis that has displaced more than 1.5 million people.

The United States welcomes the international community’s efforts to improve the human rights situation in South Sudan.

We also appreciate today’s opportunity to hear from the African Union Commission of Inquiry and President Obasanjo about its efforts to investigate and document the serious crimes that have occurred.

Although the warring parties in South Sudan agreed to a Cessation of Hostilities, both sides have violated the peace agreements repeatedly.

The continued violence, coupled with a lack of accountability, has emboldened those who abuse human rights.  It is inexcusable that those abusers thrive while thousands of South Sudanese are dying.

We strongly condemn reported violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights, including those involving targeted killings of civilians along ethnic lines, rape, attacks on humanitarian workers, the ongoing and unlawful recruitment of child soldiers, and the closing of political space.

We share the belief that the current humanitarian crisis in South Sudan is entirely man-made.

Both sides must agree to a negotiated political solution that honors the commitments made to implement the Cessation of Hostilities agreement and establish a transitional government of national unity.

We conclude with two questions:

Particularly after the AU COI’s report is released, what can member states do to ensure accountability for the atrocities that have taken place in South Sudan?  How can the UN better assist the AU COI’s work?

Thank you, Mr. Vice-President.