UN raises concern over human rights violations in South Sudan

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South Sudanese man protecting his children

The human rights situation in South Sudan remains precarious with the government struggling to protect civilians from violence and human rights abuses, according to the UN Office for Human Rights (OHCHR).

UN Deputy Human Rights  Chief Ms. Flavia Pansieri said some of the violations were being committed by the country's defense forces.

She said the situation was particularly worse in the northeastern state of Jonglei.

In a report to the UN Human Rights Council, Ms Pansieri said weaknesses in the country's justice system have given rise to serious human rights violations, such as prolonged periods of pre-trial detention and poor detention conditions.

She said lack of capacity and inadequate training of police, prosecutors, and judges have resulted in numerous human rights violations in law enforcement and administration of justice.

"The report acknowledges the daunting challenges faced by the Republic of South Sudan as a new State, including a legacy of conflict and underdevelopment. It identifies a number of factors which have had a serious impact on the human rights situation, notably the continuing political tensions with the Sudan, as well as internal conflicts and ethnic tensions, which have severely undermined efforts at State and institution building. Recommendations to the Government include the development of a robust legal framework for the promotion and protection of human rights; and the strengthening of institutions, especially the justice and security sectors throughout the country, to uphold the rule of law and protect civilians."

Responding to the report, South Sudan minister for Justice John Luk Jok said it was a legal duty for all South Sudan citizens and the various arms of government to uphold and respect human rights.

He said the country was in the process of integrating all international conventions and treaties it has acceded to, as part of its domestic law.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations Radio, Geneva.

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January 2018
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