Introductory Statement by the United States of America
as delivered by Jason Mack
Human Rights Council, 37th Session
Geneva, March 23, 2018
Thank you, Mr. President.
On behalf of the core group with Albania, Paraguay, and the United Kingdom, the United States would like to thank South Sudan, the African Group, and all other member states and stakeholders for their constructive engagement on this resolution. We would particularly like to welcome the productive dialogue we had with the Mission of South Sudan in developing the resolution before you today.
The human rights situation in South Sudan as reported is deeply alarming to us all. The report of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan, presented to this Council last week, detailed serious human rights violations and abuses and concluded they may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. It contains chilling accounts of looting and destruction of homes and villages; rape and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence; violence against children; and extrajudicial killings on the basis of ethnicity. The report also underscores that the situation continues to be characterized by impunity.
This resolution condemns in the strongest possible terms ongoing human rights violations and abuses in South Sudan. We must come together to address these atrocities and put an end to the crisis in South Sudan. Through this resolution, the Council condemns violence by all sides, and encourages domestic and regional efforts to foster a national reconciliation process and work to ensure accountability.
In light of the Commission’s report, it is clear that much work remains in carrying out the Commission’s mandate, which this resolution would extend by a year.
Through this resolution, the Council welcomes the Government of South Sudan’s stated commitment to cooperate with OHCHR, UN special procedures, the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan, UN Mission in South Sudan, and regional, sub-regional and international mechanisms on the ground. We call on the Government to honor that commitment to give them unhindered access and engage fully and constructively with them. We also reiterate our call for all parties to the conflict to allow and facilitate the full, safe and unhindered access of humanitarian personnel, equipment and supplies free of unnecessary duties and taxes and the timely delivery of humanitarian assistance to all those in need, in particular to internally displaced persons and refugees.
We also recognize the work of the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development in bringing forward the High Level Revitalization Forum to work towards a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
In this vein, we reiterate our call for the Government of South Sudan to sign the Memorandum of Understanding with the African Union to establish the Hybrid Court immediately.
We are encouraged by the strong support from other delegations that have joined us in co-sponsoring this resolution, in particular by the co-sponsorship of South Sudan and the entire African Group.
As we work to prevent this human rights crisis from intensifying, our shared goals are to end this crisis and to help South Sudan establish a just and enduring peace. It is urgently important to address the ongoing atrocities in South Sudan and to renew the Commission’s mandate.
Thank you, Mr. President.