U.S. Statement on HRC Item 2: Situation in South Sudan
Human Rights Council 29th Session
Delivered by Ambassador Keith Harper
July 2, 2015 – Geneva
The United States is gravely concerned about the human rights situation in South Sudan. Since fighting began in December 2013, many serious human rights violations and abuses have been committed and have been chronicled in various reports by the United Nations.
With over two million displaced, thousands dead, and over 120,000 still seeking refuge on UN compounds, the human rights situation in South Sudan is one of the most grave situations we face at the Human Rights Council and indeed in the world. Many South Sudanese on the verge of famine resulting from this man-made crisis.
Especially in light of recent increased levels of violence and the latest accounts of human rights violations and abuses from UNICEF and the UN Mission in South Sudan, we firmly believe that the creation of a new mechanism is necessary and urgent. This mechanism will focus international attention on the victims of human rights violations and abuses in South Sudan. And we believe that better understanding the violations and who is committing violations and abuses of human rights will aid the peace process.
It is also important to establish this mechanism for the credibility and legitimacy of this Council. The Council simply cannot stand silent in the face of such serious violations and abuses.
The United States and our partners in the core group (Albania, Paraguay and the United Kingdom) did not believe that an Item 10 resolution – focused solely on technical assistance – would be a credible or reasonable response by the Council given the grave human rights situation in South Sudan.
We are therefore greatly pleased to offer this resolution, which assigns to the Office of the High Commissioner responsibility to undertake this Mission to monitor and assess the human rights situation in South Sudan, under Item 2 of the Council’s agenda.
Along with our partners, we have structured this proposed Mission so that it should allow the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to monitor and report on the situation of human rights and to undertake a comprehensive assessment of alleged violations and abuses of human rights, with a view to ensuring accountability.
Additionally, the resolution outlines benchmarks and potential follow-up that would be appropriate for the Council to consider.
Further, the resolution ensures that the Human Rights Council’s work is complementary to the work of the African Union.
In that regard, we reiterate our appreciation for President Obasanjo having addressed this Council last year on the work of the AU COI on South Sudan and hope his report is made public soon.
Finally, we are especially appreciative of the work by the distinguished Ambassador of Algeria, coordinator of the African Group and the work by IGAD partners, and all other delegations that participated constructively in the negotiations. We thank the delegation of South Sudan for its agreement to cooperate with this Mission.
We thank all cosponsors for the collaboration on this resolution and hope that it will be adopted by consensus given the dire human rights situation in South Sudan.