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  • Cara Priestley

Join us for a Briefing on Transitional Justice and Opportunities for Reparations in South Sudan

Updated: Apr 20, 2022

Register for the event here: Zoom Webinar Panelist Bios can be found here:
Speaker Bios
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Join us on Wednesday 30 March 2022 for a briefing onTransitional Justice and Opportunities for Reparations in South Sudan, taking place as a virtual side event of the 49th Human Rights Council session.

The event will share key findings from the new Study on the Status of and Opportunities for Reparations for Survivors of Conflict-Related Violence (CRSV) in South Sudan:*

  1. Conflict-related sexual violence is has reached epidemic levels in South Sudan, due to cultural acceptance of many forms of #SGBV.

  2. CRSV has been used as part of an ethnically based strategy to terrorise and displace populations, with devastating effects on individuals, families, and communities.

  3. Survivors’ rights and suffering have not been acknowledged: a sea change of awareness is needed to end a destructive culture of blame and the normalisation of impunity.

  4. Survivors urgently need reparations to address physical, psychological, social and economic impacts of devastating and epidemic levels of sexual violence.

  5. Children born of rape are forgotten victims in South Sudan, suffering extreme stigmatisation, discrimination, abuse, neglect, and even infanticide.

There has been some small progress in preparing for public consultations on establishing a Commission on Truth, Reconciliation and Healing (CTRH), which would in turn be mandated to recommend reparations. However, funding for the Technical Committee tasked with conducting public consultations has been delayed, and it has been given less than a month to consult and a single day to produce its report, possibly violating the terms of the 2018 Peace Agreement (R-ARCSS). At least one month is needed for meaningful consultations and sufficient time should be given for preparing the report and draft legislation. There are also concerns that establishing the Truth Commission, which is critical to acknowledging the past, may come at the cost of a Hybrid Court focused on accountability. Trust and belief that the government will deliver transitional justice is extremely low. In this context, the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan – whose mandate is up for renewal at this HRC Session - is instrumental in holding a spotlight on ongoing violations and keeping the transitional justice agenda alive. "Don't Abandon Us" is the call from two survivors working with the South Sudan Transitional Justice Working Group in a recent open letter.

Panel and Q&A

Opening Remarks: H.E. Ambassador Mørch Smith, Permanent Mission of Norway in Geneva

  • Jackline Nasiwa, Director of CIGPJ: Challenges Faced by Survivors of CRSV in Accessing Justice and Reparations

  • Clara Sandoval-Villalba, Director of Programmes at GSF: Findings from the Study and GSF’s Pilot Reparations Programme

  • Gordon Lam, Executive Director of DRI: Updates on Transitional Justice, including the Public Consultations on the establishment of the Commission on Truth, Reconciliation and Healing (CTRH)

  • Mariana Goetz, Founder Director of Rights for Peace (Moderator) The UN-CHRSS and Ensuring an Enabling Environment to Achieve Transitional Justice

Closing remarks: H.E. French Ambassador at Large for Human Rights Delphine Borione

*The South Sudan Reparations Study is a project led by Rights for Peace in collaboration with Dialogue and Research Institute (DRI) and the Centre for Inclusive Governance, Peace and Justice (CIGPJ) and the Global Survivors Fund. The South Sudan Reparations Study is part of the Global Reparations Study, a global research effort, coordinated and implemented in over 20 countries around the world by the Global Survivors Fund, with over 40 local and international partners, including survivors’ networks and groups. The purpose of this global study is to provide an overview of the status of and opportunities for reparations for survivors of conflict-related sexual violence. It makes recommendations for further action based on survivors’ needs and aspirations and identifies potential support available among key actors and concrete action to enhance access to reparations for CRSV survivors around the world.

The Full Study Report and Fact Sheet are available here.

Register for the event here: Zoom Webinar

Key recommendations:

  • The Government of South Sudan should adopt legislation to establish all three transitional justice mechanisms under the 2018 Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) giving effect to survivors’ rights. Truth telling and acknowledgment are fundamental, but accountability is also needed to reverse the culture of impunity for CRSV.

  • A survivor-led approach to reparations is needed, which may include awareness-raising to counter stigma, medical and psychosocial care, and livelihoods support. Specific provision for children born of CRSV is needed.

  • The Government of South Sudan should provide the Technical Committee on the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing (CTRH) with the requisite time and resources for effective consultations, including with CRSV survivors.

  • Civic space needs to open-up: workshops and events should not require government clearance. Journalists and civil society actors should be able to speak openly without fear of arrest, and surveillance and intimidation of human rights defenders should cease.

  • A renewal of the UN Human Rights Commission for South Sudan’s mandate is needed to keep a spotlight on ongoing violations and keep the transitional justice agenda alive.

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