Human Rights Council
28 February–1 April 2022
Agenda item 4
Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention
In the present report, submitted pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 46/23, the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan provides an overview of the situation of human rights in South Sudan and updates the Council on critical developments and incidents on which the Commission has collected and preserved evidence.
Ten years after gaining independence, South Sudan should be a country full of hope. Instead, it is in the grip of a humanitarian and economic crisis. Political competition and ongoing localized conflict are responsible for fragmentation and increasing ethnic divisions, in which women and girls are acutely at risk of sexual violence. Young people in South Sudan are seeing their prospects for a better life withering away.
While resilient, the people of South Sudan need their political leaders to demonstrate the political will to end the violence and ensure that the peace process holds. The African Union, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development and the international community as a whole must do more to ensure that the goals of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan are met in order to transform the lives of the people of South Sudan.
In 2016, by its resolution 31/20, the Human Rights Council established the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan for a period of one year. In April 2017, by its resolution 34/25, the Council extended the Commission’s mandate for one year and requested the Commission to continue to monitor and report on the situation of human rights in South Sudan, to make recommendations to prevent further deterioration of the situation and to report and provide guidance on transitional justice.
The Commission was also mandated to determine and report the facts and circumstances of, to collect and preserve evidence of and to clarify responsibility for alleged gross violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes, including sexual and genderbased violence, with a view to ending impunity and providing accountability. Furthermore, the Human Rights Council requested the Commission to make such information available to transitional justice mechanisms, including those set out in chapter V of the 2018 Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (the Revitalized Agreement), including the Hybrid Court for South Sudan, to be established in cooperation with the African Union.1 3. The Human Rights Council subsequently extended the mandate of the Commission, each time for an additional year, in its resolutions 37/31, 40/19, 43/27 and 46/23. The current members of the Commission, appointed by the President of the Council, are Yasmin Sooka (Chair), Andrew Clapham and Barney Afako.
The Commission is supported by a secretariat based in Juba. In 2021, it conducted several missions to locations within South Sudan, including Tambura and Yambio (Western Equatoria State), Yei (Central Equatoria State), Kuajok and Warrap (Warrap State), Bentiu (Unity State), Malakal (Upper Nile State) and Wau (Western Bahr el-Ghazal State). It also conducted missions to Ethiopia and Uganda. The Commission met with victims, witnesses, government officials, members of civil society and other key stakeholders.
In implementing its mandate during the reporting period, the Commission took more than 180 detailed individual witness statements, conducted focus group discussions with 184 participants and gathered more than 200 documents, including confidential records. The evidence collected is preserved in the Commission’s secure and confidential database and archives.
During the reporting period, the Commission conducted a second conference on transitional justice, held in Nairobi from 13 to15 December 2021(see paras. 87–88 below).
The Commission extends its gratitude to the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity for facilitating its missions and is grateful for the cooperation that it received from Governments in the region. It also appreciates the assistance and contributions of the African Union, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), United Nations agencies, civil society organizations and experts.