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JUBA - 29 Mar 2014

Ten countries ‘condemn human rights abuses’ in South Sudan

Eight European countries alongside the United States and Canada on Friday condemned human rights abuses committed in South Sudan, condemning also harassment and detention of UN personnel in the country.

The countries did not mention any particular human rights cases, but they expressed strong support for the UN peacekeeping mission in the country, which came under fire from the South Sudanese government after issuing a detailed human rights report in mid-February. 

The strongly worded statement comes only a week after the British and American governments threatened to impose targeted sanctions against individuals they said were obstructing the peace process in South Sudan.

The following press statement was issued on 28 March by the United States, United Kingdom, Norway, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Canada missions, and European Union delegation in South Sudan. 

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We the Ambassadors and Chargé d’Affaires ad interim of the US, United Kingdom, Norway, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Canada and the European Union strongly reiterate our support for the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and its work on behalf of the international community for the people of South Sudan. We strongly condemn the continued obstruction of UNMISS operations by Government and opposition forces and any threats to UNMISS personnel. We call on all parties to publicly denounce any actions against the mission, SRSG Johnson, and any UNMISS personnel.

We condemn the ongoing violations of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) by the Government of South Sudan, including restriction of movement, harassment, and detention of personnel, and seizure of UN property and supplies. In this regard, we emphasize that all threats and attacks on United Nations personnel and facilities are unacceptable and may constitute violations of international law.

We condemn the violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law that have resulted in the loss of lives, and internal displacements as well as refugees along the borders in neighboring nations. We express concern at the dire humanitarian situation and urge all parties to expedite as a matter of urgency the free, safe and unhindered access of humanitarian organizations for the timely delivery of humanitarian assistance to populations in need.

Furthermore, we urge all parties to engage constructively in the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD)-led negotiations. We are deeply concerned by ongoing violations by all parties of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement and urge all parties to the conflict to immediately comply with that Agreement, and cooperate with the IGAD monitoring and verification efforts.