UN human rights chief "heartened" South Sudan will ratify major treaties

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Navi Pillay , UN Human Rights Commissioner

The government of the world's newest nation, South Sudan, has been urged to ratify the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international treaties as soon as possible.

The appeal came from UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay who is visiting the country, which became independent in July 2011.

Ms. Pillay said coming to South Sudan so soon after independence could provide what she called "a useful stimulus for the development of a sound human rights framework."

Dianne Penn reports.

Navi Pillay said she was heartened to hear that President Salva Kiir and the South Sudan government are committed to ratifying the main human rights treaties.

The UN Human Rights chief is helping South Sudan develop what she called "good long-term human rights infrastructure" including laws, institutions and practices.

Ms. Pillay said she was struck by a comment she had heard earlier in her visit.

It was made by a representative of South Sudan's civil society who said people there should avoid using the phrase "We are a young nation" because human rights are human rights regardless of a country's state of development.

Ms. Pillay said she could not agree more with this statement.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 46″

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