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UN Human Rights Council 48: UK statement for the interactive dialogue with the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan

UK International Ambassador for Human Rights Rita French gave a statement expressing the UK's deep concern at restrictions on freedom of expression in response to recent calls for peaceful protest.

23 September 2021

Thank you, Madam President.

The United Kingdom thanks the Commission for its work in South Sudan. We welcome the Government of South Sudan's commitments to address human rights concerns and recent progress on implementation of the 2018 Peace Agreement. However, 10 years since independence, and three years since the Agreement was signed, progress falls well below expectations. South Sudanese people continue to suffer severely as a result of violence, displacement, attacks on humanitarian workers, sexual and gender-based violence, and arbitrary detentions.

The UK is deeply concerned at restrictions on freedom of expression in response to recent calls for peaceful protest. Governments must listen to grievances and allow – indeed encourage - dialogue without fear. Given this and continued wider abuses, we urge the Government of South Sudan to deliver on their commitments on transitional justice and accountability, and uphold the protections and promotions of freedom of speech guaranteed in the Transitional Constitution. It is clear that robust monitoring, particularly through the continuation of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan, also remains essential to support urgent human rights improvements.

Members of the Commission,

What action can the international community take to protect civilians and their freedom of speech as well as to protect NGOs and humanitarians?

Thank you.



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