Human Rights Council Session 42 - Statement of the Kingdom of the Netherlands on South Sudan – Item 4

In reaction to the oral update by the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan

Mr. President,

The Kingdom of the Netherlands aligns itself with the EU statement.

We thank the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan for its valuable work.

While the decline in large-scale violence since the signing of the peace agreement is encouraging, we remain concerned by the continuing violence in Central Equatoria and allegedly unabated human rights violations attributed to Government forces and opposition armed groups.

The Netherlands is deeply worried about the increase in unlawful killings, arbitrary arrests and prolonged detention, and the overall shrinking space for dissent in South Sudan. We stress the importance of the right to due process, and the protection of freedom of expression and safety of journalists, in building a peaceful, just and inclusive society.

The continuing systematic sexual and gender-based violence in South Sudan is of great concern. Increased efforts to stem sexual violence and end impunity are urgently needed. In this context, we reaffirm our commitment and our support to the establishment of a dedicated SGBV-court.

The people of South Sudan deserve to experience the benefits of peace. They need concrete signs that atrocities will not go unpunished. The planned establishment of the Transitional Government of National Unity provides a new opportunity to make progress on accountability and reconciliation. We therefore

renew our call to the Government of South Sudan to step up efforts to fully implement Chapter 5 of the peace agreement.

Distinguished members of the Commission,

While recognizing that the primary responsibility lies with the Government of South Sudan, what should be the priority for the international community when it comes to supporting the protection of women, displaced people and other vulnerable groups?

Thank you.