Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Switzerland, Liechtenstein


Human Rights Council - 27th Regular Session

Panel Discussion on the Human Rights Situation in South Sudan

Statement by Australia
24 September 2014

Australia commends those distinguished panellists who are engaged in trying to mitigate the humanitarian and political crisis in South Sudan. Given these considerable international efforts, we are dismayed at the repeated failures by South Sudan’s leaders to commit to sustainable peace and reconciliation, while their people continue to suffer.

Australia continues to fully support the IGAD-mediated peace talks. We stress that failing to address the underlying causes which led to this outbreak of violence will lead to a repeat of these events in the future. The full inclusion of civil society, traditional and religious leaders, women and youth in the peace processes is therefore critical.

Justice and accountability will be another vital element of any sustainable reconciliation. Given the scale and nature of the atrocities that have been perpetrated by thousands of South Sudanese against fellow citizens, careful thought will need to be given to appropriate accountability mechanisms, including truth and reconciliation mechanisms. We welcome the Government of South Sudan’s undertaking (in the 25 August ‘Protocol on Agreed Principles on Transitional Arrangements towards Resolution of the Crisis in South Sudan’) that any individuals named as responsible for war crimes will be excluded from the transitional government. We would welcome further detail from Mr Obasanjo about what recommendations the Commission of Inquiry is likely to make in regard to accountability mechanisms, and would also appreciate panellists’ assessments of the capacity and independence of the South Sudanese judicial system.

Australia worked in the Security Council to re-focus the UNMISS mandate earlier this year, and supported a strong focus on human rights monitoring and reporting. Regular and public human rights reporting is a valuable accountability tool. Could the panellists outline the timeline for future expected UNMISS human rights reports.