Human Rights Council 49th session: Interactive dialogue with the Commission on South Sudan - PR UN, WTO and other organisations Geneva

Human Rights Council 49th Session: Interactive dialogue with the Commission on South Sudan | 18-03-2022

Statement of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

The Kingdom of the Netherlands aligns itself with the EU statement and welcomes the Commission’s report. We support the renewal of your mandate and urge all member states to do the same.

The Netherlands is severely concerned by the gross human rights violations and abuses recorded over the last year. As South Sudan prepares for its elections, it is important that the people and organizations in South Sudan are able to participate, organize and communicate without restriction. Indeed, the protection of rights and freedoms is essential in any social contract between government and citizens.

Your report covers attempts to intimidate or silence civil society representatives, journalists, legal professionals, human rights defenders and members of political groups. Last month, eight journalists and one NGO-member were arrested while covering a press conference at the parliament in Juba. The use of intimidation, arbitrary detention and brutal violence to silence activists is deeply disturbing.

We therefore urge the government of South Sudan to immediately take all necessary measures to protect and promote civic space, to guarantee fundamental rights and freedoms of its citizens, and guarantee accountability for violations. This includes swift and credible investigations into abductions, such as the abduction of Woja Emmanuel.

Commissioners, what immediate and concrete steps can the government of South Sudan undertake in the short term to strengthen the social contract between government and citizen?