Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (14 December) on the special session of the Human Rights Council.
I am shocked by the latest statements by the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan. We must do everything in our power to prevent further terrible violence in South Sudan. In particular, sexual violence must not be allowed to become a normal state of affairs for the people in the country. I thus welcome today’s special session of the Human Rights Council. It is right that the German Government supported the request to hold this extraordinary meeting.
I call on all parties to the conflict to reach a peaceful solution in line with the agreement reached in 2015. I also urgently call for the African Union’s hybrid court to finally be set up. Those responsible must be brought to justice. It is now the responsibility of the South Sudanese Government to undertake visible steps to uphold the country’s international obligations and to allow humanitarian aid to reach all regions.
The Human Rights Council set up a Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan in March 2016. Its members are Yasmin Sooka (Chair), Kenneth Scott and Godfrey Musila. Following a ten-day visit to South Sudan at the end of November, the Commission reported on serious violations of human rights and “epic levels of sexual violence”. Adama Dieng, United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, also reported that there were warning signs of a genocide. In its special session today, the Human Rights Council therefore decided to follow the situation in South Sudan even more closely. The German Government supported both the request to hold the special session and the resulting resolution.