Statement by the Kingdom of the Netherlands - Interactive Dialogue with the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan

43rd Human Rights Council – Palais des Nations Geneva

9 March 2020

Madam President,

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

We thank the Commission for its valuable work.

The recent formation of the transitional unity government is encouraging, but it is essential that this also results in ending the denial of fundamental rights and freedoms to the people of South Sudan.

The Netherlands is deeply worried about the shrinking space for dissent, characterized by censorship and self-censorship, as well as arbitrary arrests. We call on the new government to end these practices, to respect the right to due process and freedom of expression, and to ensure the safety of journalists and human rights defenders.

In addition, the government urgently needs to step up its efforts to address the deeply concerning continuing systematic sexual and gender-based violence, as well as the ongoing impunity of these crimes. In this context, we eagerly await the opening of the dedicated SGBV-court in Juba.

Sustainable peace is more than just the absence of fighting. The people of South Sudan have waited for a long time for reconciliation and accountability. The formation of the Transitional Government is an opportunity to take concrete steps towards the full implementation of Chapter 5 of the peace agreement on Transitional Justice, Accountability, Reconciliation and Healing.

Distinguished members of the Commission,

What are the most urgent steps for the new government to take with regard to this implementation?

Thank you.