South Sudan ‘teetering on brink of disaster’

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein on Dec. 14 warned  that South Sudan "teeters on the brink of a disaster." Speaking before the Human Rights Council Special Session on South Sudan, Zeid called for urgent action. "The highest priority must urgently be given to protection for those most at risk from killings, sexual violence and other serious human rights violations. And it is time for all national and regional actors to advocate decisively for a political process that is both inclusive and implemented on the ground." Zeid also urged the Council "to call on South Sudan's leaders to refrain from incitement to violence and ethnic hatred." Yasmin Sooka, chair of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan, said the international community could prevent a "Rwanda-like" genocide by immediately deploying 4,000 peacekeepers to protect civilians. The Council concluded the session by adopting a resolution condemning the ongoing rights violations and reaffirming the mandate of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan.

South Sudan, which gained independence in 2011, has spent most of its short history in civil war. The Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan warned last week that ethnic cleansing is taking place in some areas of the country. Several South Sudanese organizations co-authored a letter to the African Union Commission last month concerning creation of a Hybrid Court for South Sudan. The Hybrid Court, in conjunction with targeted sanctions and arms embargo, could aid in averting the armed conflict. South Sudan officials have said the country will take legal action against US-based advocacy group The Sentry after a report published by the group accused the nation's leaders of profiting from the three-year conflict.

From Jurist, Dec. 14. Used with permission.