Statement by the United States of America as delivered by Jason Mack
Human Rights Council 36th Session
Geneva, September 18, 2017
Thank you, Mr. Vice President.
The United States thanks the panelists for their work to address South Sudan’s grave human rights situation.
The Commission on Human Rights’ report details human rights violations and abuses, violations of international humanitarian law, and unabated impunity. Unfortunately, the parties to the conflict continue to exacerbate the crisis situation on the ground. 4 million South Sudanese civilians are displaced from their homes and over 1.4 million people have fled the country in fear.
We remain deeply concerned by reports of ethnically-charged atrocities and the use of scorched earth tactics by military forces throughout the country, including widespread sexual violence against civilians, including children, based on perceived political allegiances and ethnicity.
Against this backdrop, the government has intensified its violent crackdown against dissent and targeted opposition figures outside the country.
The government continues to instigate conflict and obstruct humanitarian assistance, causing mass displacement and near famine-like conditions, and making South Sudan the most dangerous place in the world for humanitarians. We condemn attacks on aid workers and the use of food as a weapon of war.
While both sides have perpetrated serious abuses and violations of human rights, government offensives this past year were responsible for the majority of atrocities, displacement and food insecurity.
This downward spiral must be halted. We urge the prompt establishment of the African Union Hybrid Court and demand unhindered access for UN and humanitarian actors. We welcome the initial deployment of members of the Regional Protection Forces in an effort to help put an end to these atrocities.
The international community must insist that the Government of South Sudan stop attacking its people.
Panelists: Last year UN Advisor for the Prevention of Genocide Dieng warned of potential genocide in South Sudan. Looking at the scale and nature of ongoing mass atrocities, how would you assess the evolving nature of the conflict?