- Cara Priestley
Rights for Peace, CIGPJ and DRI submit report to South Sudan’s Universal Periodic Review
Rights for Peace, Centre for Inclusive Governance, Peace & Justice (CIGPJ) and Dialogue & Research Initiative (DRI) welcomed the recent opportunity to contribute to the third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of South Sudan. In our joint submission, we addressed developments in relation to:
● Conflict-related sexual violence
● Transitional justice mechanisms
● Victims’ rights to a remedy and reparations
The information in this submission was drawn from our work with survivors of conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) in South Sudan. We have supported trauma healing workshops, focus group discussions and interviews with survivors to seek their perceptions, needs and expectations with regards to reparations for CRSV, as part of the Global Survivors Fund’s Multi-Country Study on the Status & Opportunities for Reparations for Survivors of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence.
We made a series of recommendations, including for the government of South Sudan to ensure that the planned consultations required for establishing the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing place survivors at their heart – and give them a meaningful say and decision-making power. Expertise in transitional justice demonstrates that the process of justice is as important as the outcome, paying attention to the fact that survivors have a right to be informed of, and be granted access to, processes that affect them.
Momentum demonstrated in recent months, as shown at the High-Level Consultative Meeting held on 30 June for the establishment of the Commission on Truth, Reconciliation and Healing, are welcome steps. Vice President Riek Machar’s words at this Meeting, that “we want to provide the aggrieved a chance to speak” and that “peace without justice will not hold” are encouraging.
This is therefore a critical time for the government to build trust with all communities, through sensitive and meaningful dialogue and consultations, and ensuring requisite budgetary commitments. Crucially, the government should ensure that all transitional justice processes and mechanisms guarantee the protection of victims and survivors against reprisals, intimidation and stigma, through a strategy and legal and policy framework that ensures proper assistance from the outset.
We encourage States to direct similar recommendations to South Sudan during its upcoming UPR, in order to ensure that victims and survivors’ right to a remedy and reparation for the human rights violations they have suffered is not forgotten.
Download and read the joint submission here.