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Human Rights Council – 32nd Session (13 June – 1 July2016) Enhanced Interactive Dialogue on South Sudan Statement by Ireland

22 June, 2016

Ireland aligns itself with the statement of the European Union and adds the following:

Mr. President,

Ireland welcomes the establishment of the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) on 29th April. The establishment of the TGoNU is a crucial starting point in the process of implementing the 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS). We recognise the role which institutions, such as the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission, have played in the peace process.

While Ireland welcomes too the recent assurances given by the President and First Vice President of South Sudan that they are determined to reconcile their communities so that South Sudan will never again go through a civil war, these commitments must now be translated into action. It is the responsibility of the Transitional Government of National Unity to end the appalling attacks on civilians and other acts of violence, including sexual and gender-based violence.

These commitments can only be achieved through the full implementation of the terms of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict agreed in August 2015. Ireland stresses the necessity for the formation of a Hybrid Court for South Sudan and other transitional justice institutions consistent with the Agreement.

The Transitional Government must also be especially sensitive to the needs of the estimated 6.1 million people who will be in need of humanitarian assistance in South Sudan this year. We urge the Transitional Government to protect civil society and humanitarian personnel from harassment and violence. Ireland further urges that the barriers which restrict the access of humanitarian organisations be removed at once.

The insecurity of South Sudan has been deepened by a Presidential decree which has redefined the country into 28 states and has already led to increased disputes and tensions in a number of communities. We call for the implementation of this decision to be suspended prior to a review by an inclusive National Boundary Commission to be created for this purpose.

Ireland would like to stress the vital role of civil society in contributing to peace and stability in South Sudan, and we therefore call upon the Transitional Government to fully respect and promote freedom of opinion and expression, and freedom of peaceful assembly and association, while ensuring that civil society actors, including media actors and human rights defenders, are protected and enabled to exercise their rights free from violence, arrest and intimidation.

Ireland strongly supports the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan. In particular, Ireland encourages the Commission to make recommendations on how transitional justice, accountability and reconciliation can be delivered, including through the formation of the Hybrid Court.

Finally, Ireland notes that this is a transitional Government and recalls that full implementation of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict includes a requirement to hold elections before the end of the transitional period in order to establish a democratically elected Government. We wish to emphasise that this is an obligation, not an option, which is owed to the people of South Sudan.

Thank you.