GENEVA / SOUTH SUDAN HUMAN RIGHTS

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20-Feb-2019 00:02:57
Continuing violence and human rights violations, including rape and sexual violence, in South Sudan may amount to war crimes, according the UN body that is reporting to the Human Rights Council on alleged gross violations and abuses of human rights in the country. UNTV CH

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STORY: GENEVA / SOUTH SUDAN HUMAN RIGHTS
TRT: 3:00
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 20 FEBRUARY 2019 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

1. Exterior shot, Palais des Nations
2. Wide shot, pan right, United Nations press room
3. Close up, nameplate, speaker
4. Med shot, journalists
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Andrew Clapham, Member of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan:
“The Commission is alarmed at the number of executions that have taken place in South Sudan. In the last two weeks alone there have been 7 executions. There are currently 185 people on death row in Juba alone, of which two are juveniles. Because we are in Geneva, I might mention that obviously the execution of juveniles would be a violation of the Child Rights Convention.”
6. Med shot, journalists
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Andrew Clapham, Member of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan:
“We did receive reports this week of ongoing fighting in the Yei river area in Central Equatoria between forces of the government and the National Salvation Front (otherwise known as the NAS). We are outraged by those reports. There are thousands of civilians who have been forcibly displaced following a ‘scorched earth policy’ in which parties to the conflict are attacking the villages, torching homes, killing civilians and raping women and girls.”
8. Close up, journalist
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Andrew Clapham, Member of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan:
“With regards to the rest of the country, I suppose we are a little more hopeful following the signing of the Revitalized Agreement on the resolution of the conflict five months ago but the situation in the Equatorias remains extremely volatile.”
10. Med shot, journalist
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Andrew Clapham, Member of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan:
“There have been human rights violations including again rape and sexual violence and we consider that those crimes could amount to war crimes and we are urging the government and the parties to take urgent steps to implement the resolutions in the Revitalized Peace Agreement and indeed to investigate and prosecute those crimes.”
12. Close-up, journalist typing
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Andrew Clapham, Member of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan:
“If you are involved in oil extraction in that area and you are asked to assist one side or the other, you could be accused of complicity in war crimes.”
14. Variouis shots, journalists
15. SOUNDBITE (English) Andrew Clapham, Member of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan:
“Our mandate includes not only the monitoring of the human rights situation but also technical assistance to the government with respect to the Transitional Justice processes, that includes the truth and reconciliation or truth and healing process as well as the compensation process. Now neither of those entities have been established yet. We have had some quite constructive meetings with the Minister of Justice here in Geneva on how you might do that. So although it might sound self-serving, I don’t think necessarily that our job is over.”
16. Close up, briefing handout
17. Wide shot, room and podium
18. Various shots, journalists

STORYLINE:

Continuing violence and human rights violations, including rape and sexual violence, in South Sudan may amount to war crimes, according the UN body that is reporting to the Human Rights Council on alleged gross violations and abuses of human rights in the country.

While the signing of the peace agreement has brought hope to the South Sudanese, it has not delivered immediate relief of their humanitarian situation. Due in large part to the conflict, the report reveals that 60 per cent of the South Sudanese population is severely food insecure, and there remain 2.2 million refugees and 1.9 million internally displaced persons.

Andrew Clapham, Member of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan, told journalists that “the Commission is alarmed at the number of executions that have taken place in South Sudan. In the last two weeks alone there have been 7 executions. There are currently 185 people on death row in Juba alone, of which two are juveniles. Because we are in Geneva, I might mention that obviously the execution of juveniles would be a violation of the Child Rights Convention.”

A characteristic of the conflict since 2016 has been the increasing “securitization of the State”, with the Commission documenting at least 47 first-hand accounts of individuals who have been arbitrarily arrested, detained and/or subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment by state forces between December 2013 and late 2018.

Crimes of rape and sexual violence have also worsened since Commission’s last update in December 2017, with documented cases showing a surge in rapes between November and December 2018.
Clapham said that the most recent report had come in just this week about “ongoing fighting in the Yei river area in Central Equatorial between forces of the government and the National Salvation Front (otherwise known as the NAS).” “We are outraged by those reports,” Clapham told journalists. “There are thousands of civilians who have been forcibly displaced following a ‘scorched earth policy’ in which parties to the conflict are attacking the villages, torching homes, killing civilians and raping women and girls.”

At the same time, according to the Commission’s report, there has been “a marked decline” in fighting across the country – except in Central Equatoria and Western Bahr el Ghazal states - since the signing of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS ) on 12 September 2018.

“With regards to the rest of the country, I suppose we are a little more hopeful following the signing of the Revitalized Agreement on the resolution of the conflict five months ago, but the situation in the Equatorias remains extremely volatile”, Clapham acknowledged.

Noting that a lack of accountability for decades of violence during the struggle for independence helped to fuel the current conflict in South Sudan, the report stresses that sustainable peace requires a tangible and credible pursuit of accountability and justice that meets the needs of thousands of victims, highlighting the importance of implementing the resolutions of the agreement and bringing those accountable for possible war crimes, to justice.

Calling out to those concerned, Clapham said,“There have been human rights violations including again rape and sexual violence and we consider that those crimes could amount to war crimes and we are urging the government and the parties to take urgent steps to implement the resolutions in the Revitalized Peace Agreement and indeed to investigate and prosecute those crimes.”

The Commission also acknowledged a link between the conflict and the political economy of South Sudan, where even before independence, there were concerns about the misappropriation of natural resources, particularly oil. The oil producing areas of the country have become increasingly militarized by Government forces, including by the National Security Services, which have expanded their involvement in the oil sector. Clapham underlined that organizations involved “in oil extraction in that area [who] are asked to assist one side or the other, could be accused of complicity in war crimes.” The report also highlights how oil revenues, and income from other natural resources such as illegal teak logging, have continued to fund the war, enabling resulting human rights violations.

The Commission also called on the region and wider international community to invest politically and materially in the Transitional Justice agenda in South Sudan of which victims, vulnerable communities especially women and those internally displaced and refugees are core stakeholders. Clapham reiterated that the mandate of the committee includes "not only the monitoring of the human rights situation but also technical assistance to the government with respect to the transitional justice processes, that includes the truth and reconciliation or truth and healing process as well as the compensation process. Now neither of those entities have been established yet. We have had some quite constructive meetings with the Minister of Justice here in Geneva on how you might do that. So although it might sound self-serving, I don’t think necessarily that our job is over.”

The report will be submitted to the Human Rights Council on 12 March 2019.
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