UN denounces South Sudan decision to expel human rights investigator

[JURIST] The head of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) on Sunday reported that the Government of the Republic of South Sudan [official websites] has expelled a UN human rights investigator from the country. South Sudan reportedly ejected UN officer Sandra Beidas for allegedly writing false reports [Reuters report]. It is possible that the expulsion was due to the release of an August report accusing the army of killing and abusing civilians. Secretary-General Special Representative for South Sudan Hilde Johnson [UN backgrounder] criticized the decision [statement, PDF] as a violation of the government's legal obligations to the UN and its mission in the country:

The order is in breach of the legal obligations of the Government of the Republic of South Sudan under the Charter of the United Nations. I have therefore been in discussions with the highest levels of the Government of the Republic of South Sudan to seek clarification on the reasons behind the order and to protest against this decision ... Human rights monitoring, investigation and reporting, and building capacity, is a core element of the mandate of UNMISS which must be protected ... The United Nations is committed to continue assisting South Sudan in fulfilling this important promise to its people.
The UNMISS wrote to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on October 25 and Johnson has met with President Salva Kiir to address the matter, but the expulsion order has not yet been withdrawn [UN News Centre report]. In the meantime the expelled officer has been redeployed to the UN Regional Service Centre in Entebbe, Uganda, pending a decision on her future status in South Sudan.

South Sudan is still facing human rights violations and need for improving the situation with Sudan. In late June UNMISS urged [JURIST report] the government to adopt a plan to prevent further inter-communal violence [press release] in Jonglei State. UNMISS provided nine recommendations for the country to avoid similar violence and conflicts in the future, including the development a "comprehensive, multi-sectorial plan with short, medium and long-term actions to respond to the main causes of the violence in Jonglei State" while maintaining support for the peace process that has already launched. In February Human Rights Watch called on [JURIST report] South Sudan to investigate the ethnic conflict sparked by the attacks made on Murle villages and to prosecute those responsible for the violence. In December around 6,000 to 8,000 armed Lou Nuer youths calling themselves "White Army" invaded the Murle villages for 12 days, robbing and burning houses and killing thousands of people. In response the Murle groups initiated retaliatory attacks on Lou Nuer and Bor Dinka areas which lasted until February 4. In April the Sudanese government declared a state of emergency [JURIST report] on the South Sudan border after the arrest of four people who the Sudanese claim were arrested for aggression against the north in the contested Heglig oil fields.

 

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