South Sudan: Extend the UN Commission’s mandate for two years

Ahead of the UN Human Rights Coun­cil’s 52nd session (27 Feb­­ruary-4 April 2023), over 90 South Sudanese, African, and international orga­nisa­tions urge states to extend the mandate of the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan (CHRSS). 

In a letter, signatory orga­nisa­tions stress that the CHRSS is the only mechanism tasked with collecting and preserving evidence of vio­la­tions of in­ter­­­na­tional law with a view to ensuring accountability in South Sudan. The CHRSS’s work, they add, remains vital as the conditions that prompted the Human Rights Coun­cil to establish the CHRSS, in 2016, have not significantly changed to warrant less scrutiny. 

“All trends and patterns outlined in a civil society letter released one year ago have worsened,” signatories write. As parties to the 2018 revitalised peace agreement (R-ARCSS) agreed to extend South Sudan’s transitional period by 24 months, but violence and impunity remain per­va­sive and South Sudanese civil society faces intensifying repression, the signatories urge states to extend the CHRSS’s mandate in full for two years. 

They write: This is not the time to relax the Council’s scrutiny. The mandate of the CHRSS remains critical and should continue until the reasons that led the Council to establish this mechanism have been addressed in a meaningful manner. The CHRSS should remain in place at least for the national elections (scheduled for Decem­ber 2024) to be held and the end of the tran­sitional period, in Feb­ruary 2025.”


Read the full letter in English / version française


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