CRES\009\11\2015: RESOLUTION ON THE HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN SOUTH SUDAN
We, the participants of the Forum on the Participation of NGOs in the 57thOrdinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the 31st African Human Rights Book fair held in Banjul, The Gambia from 31st October–2nd November 2015;
Concerned by the continuously deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation in South Sudan;
Recalling that since the outbreak of the conflict in mid-December 2013, civilians have been victims of extreme acts of violence, including mass killings, rape and other forms of sexual crimes, torture, enforced disappearances, forced recruitment of child soldiers, forced displacement which could amount to international crimes reprehensible under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC);
Dismayed by the failure of the Government of South Sudan to conduct credible and independent investigations with a view to prosecuting and holding accountable persons suspected of international humanitarian and human rights law violations and considering that these failures seriously compromise prospects for justice and reconciliation in South Sudan and contribute to the continuation of serious human rights abuses and the culture of impunity;
Dismayedin particular by the continuing conflict in the areas of Upper Nile and Unity States. Further alerted particularly by the spread of the conflict to areas that were unaffected before such as Central Equatoria and Western Equatoria States despite the signing of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan in August;
Alarmed by the increasing rates of sexual violence in South Sudan; the brutality of the sexual violence and the target of children and elder women;
Concerned by the restrictions to the work of human rights defenders and journalists who are increasingly subjected to arbitrary arrest and detention, intimidation, threats and other acts of harassment and reprisals, in particular when they document and report on conflict-related human rights abuses and call for accountability; for instance by the intimidation and threats to Dr. Luka Biong which led to him fleeing into exile after he organized a public debate on the President’s decision to establish 28 States.
Concerned by the fact that over 2.5 million people are still internally displaced in South Sudan, that over 500,000 have been forced to seek refuge in neighbouring countries and that 4 million people are facing food insecurity and restriction of the flow of humanitarian aid to the people facing extreme hunger;
Recalling that the African Union Commission (AUC) established, in March 2014, a Commission of Inquiry mandated to “investigate the human rights violations and other abuses committed during the conflict and make recommendations on the best ways and means to ensure accountability, reconciliation and healing” ; Further recalling that the AUC’s released report is a welcome step towards accountability, reconciliation and healing;
Recalling the ACHPR’s Resolution 265 on the human rights situation in South Sudan, calling upon the Government of South Sudan to “ensure full protection of the civilian population” and to “ensure that perpetrators of the human rights violations are held accountable”;
The NGO Forum calls upon the ACHPR to adopt a resolution:
jurisdiction over crimes that have occurred during the conflict.
Done in Banjul, The Gambia – 2nd November 2015