South Sudan

Human rights violations and related economic crimes in the Republic of South Sudan (A/HRC/48/CRP.3)

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Human Rights Council
Forty-eighth session
13 September–08 October 2021
Agenda item 4
Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention

Conference room paper of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan


Even prior to gaining independence in July 2011, human rights violations and related economic crimes in southern Sudan had a direct, negative impact on the capacity of the State to meet its core socio-economic obligations, such as healthcare, education, and the Sustainable Development Goals, with poor and extremely poor civilians including women and children disproportionately affected. As early as 2012, the nascent Republic of South Sudan had reportedly lost billions of US dollars in illicit financial flows. Since independence, and owing to the abject failure of national authorities to fulfil their human rights obligations, over 80 per cent of South Sudanese women, men, and children continue to be exposed to extreme and wholly unwarranted poverty, vulnerability, and suffering, as ordinary citizens bear the brunt of the most egregious embezzlement, plunder, and looting of their critical resources by unaccountable elites, aided by international accomplices. Illicitly diverted resources have also been used to fuel conflict and foment violence.

The foregoing report demonstrates that staggering amounts of money and other wealth have been illicitly siphoned from South Sudan’s public coffers and resources. Over two years alone, the Commission uncovered that more than $73 million USD in non-oil revenue remain unaccounted for. These economic crimes represent a fraction of an overall pattern of theft and have multiple adverse implications for the attainment of economic, social and cultural rights, as well as civil and political rights. The material gathered by the Commission – within the constraints of its resources – is necessarily emblematic of what is a larger and more pervasive crisis leading to the dire human rights situation in the country.