HRC37: Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence

Human Rights Council: 37th Session
Item 3: Clustered interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence and the Special Advisor on the prevention of genocide

Oral Intervention 

Thank you Mr. Vice-President.

The East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project welcomes the study on the contribution of transitional justice to the prevention of gross violations and abuses of human rights and serious violations of international humanitarian law, particularly the prevention of atrocity crimes and their recurrence.

This study speaks to the human rights situation in South Sudan, where the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan recently concluded that the human rights violations committed during the ongoing civil war may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The conflict, which started in 2013 and was reignited in July 2016, has inflicted untold suffering on the people of South Sudan. Lack of accountability for gross human rights violations remains a major obstacle toward reconciliation, with impunity fuelling the cycle violence and violations. As long as there is no justice, there can be no peace.

A robust transitional justice mechanism is essential in addressing the underlying causes of the conflict, and ultimately in achieving accountability and ensuring the country’s recovery. We urge the Government of South Sudan to reaffirm its commitment to the Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan and acknowledge the importance of transitional justice mechanisms. We also call on the Council, the African Union, and other relevant regional bodies to support South Sudan in this endeavour.

The government must prioritise and fast track the establishment and operationalisation of the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing, the Hybrid Court, and a Compensation and Reparations Authority to ensure justice for the victims and prevent further atrocities.

I thank you Mr. Vice-President.



Human Rights Defender of the month:Mary Pais Da Silva

On 17 February 2023, in Ethiopia’s rustic resort of Bishoftu, more than 5000Km from her homeland, Mary Da Silva was announced winner of the 2023 AfricanDefenders Shield Award, in the presence of hundreds of colleague human rights defenders from 36 African countries. It was a fitting validation for the Eswatini human rights lawyer, whose sense of empathy and sensitivity to injustice has been a defining hallmark of her career.
Born 45 years ago in Lubombo, eastern Eswatini, the last of 4 siblings, Mary attributes her values to her upbringing. Although she was born in Eswatini, her parents are originally from Mozambique, and only relocated to eSwatini at the start of the Mozambican civil war that lasted between 1977-1992, which ravaged families and displaced many others. As one of the earliest to escape and settle in Eswatini, Mary’s family shouldered the responsibility of being a gateway for many other Mozambicans escaping the violence in their country for a more peaceful and stable livelihood in Southern Africa. This experience was illuminating for Mary