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Government won’t renew mandate of UN commission on human rights

The transitional unity government has said it will not renew the mandate of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan.

Ruben Madol Arol, the minister of justice and constitutional affairs, accused the Commission of extending it’s mandate beyond monitoring human rights situation to monitoring implementation of the 2018 peace agreement.

“We also found that the Commission is trying to extend its mandate to even monitor the implementation of the agreement which is not a matter for human rights bodies, and so we objected to the report and made our position clear that the government of South Sudan objects to the renewal of the mandate of the Commission,” Arol told journalists in Juba on Sunday.

He was speaking after arriving from attending the 52nd regular session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Arol revealed that the Commission was first established in March 2016, and has since been renewed on annual basis, adding that the government now needs technical assistance instead of monitoring.

 “We say the government is ready to engage with international community and human rights bodies in constructive dialogue, a lot of monitoring have been done but this time, we are saying the government needs support in the areas of capacity building and also technical assistance,” he disclosed.

The Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan is an independent body mandated by the UN Human Rights Council. Its three Commissioners are not UN staff, they are not renumerated for their work as Commissioners, and they serve independently in their capacity as experts.

They are supported by a Secretariat based in Juba, South Sudan. The Commission is mandated to investigate the situation of human rights in South Sudan, and to determine and report the facts and circumstances of human rights violations and abuses, including by clarifying responsibility for violations and abuses that are crimes under national and or international law.

To assist in addressing impunity in South Sudan, the Commission is also mandated to collect and preserve evidence, and to make this available to transitional justice mechanisms.

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