Extend the mandate of the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan

In a letter released ahead of the UN Human Rights Council’s 49th session (28 Feb­­ruary-1 April 2022), a record number of 81 NGOs urge states to extend the mandate of the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan (CHRSS). 

The signatories emphasise that the CHRSS is the only mechanism tasked with collecting and preserving evidence of vio­la­tions of inter­na­tional humanitarian and human rights law in South Sudan. Its work remains vital as the country prepares for elections in 2023, violence remains per­va­sive, and South Sudanese civil society faces intensifying repression. 

They highlight ongoing human rights issues and delays in im­ple­menting the 2018 Peace Agreement, including operationalisation of three transitional justice mechanisms, namely the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing (CTRH), the Com­pensation and Reparation Authority (CRA), and the Hybrid Court for South Sudan. 

“This is not the time to change the Council’s approach, or to relax its scrutiny,” the signatories write. “The mandate of the CHRSS remains critical and should continue until such a point as demonstrable progress has been made against human rights benchmarks and accountability, and based on an assessment of risk factors of further vio­la­tions.” 


Read the full letter in English / Version française


Human Rights Defender of the month: Esther Tawiah

In Ghana, Esther Tawiah is one of the loudest voices for women empowerment and gender. It is also why she is one of the most loathed. Born and raised in New-Tafo in the country’s eastern region, Esther grew up surrounded by a culture that frowned at the idea of women participating in public affairs, and witnessed firsthand, the backlash those who dared to challenge that cultural norm faced.

“I grew up in a society where ageism and sexism were so entrenched. As a young person, you weren’t supposed to give your opinion on public issues, especially if you were a woman. Women who dared to speak up were caricatured and branded as frustrated, unmarriageable prostitutes, all designed to shut them up,” she says.