NPWJ welcomes South Sudan and calls on the Government to ratify international human rights treaties, including the ICC Rome Statute

Brussels, Rome – 9 July 2011


 
Today, 9 July 2011, the Republic of South Sudan has achieved independence, becoming the 54th African State. The people of South Sudan were empowered to decide their own future last January 2011 in the referendum provided for under the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). The people of South Sudan voted overwhelmingly in favor of creating their own independent State.
 
Statement by Alison Smith, Legal Counsel of No Peace Without Justice:
 

“No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT) celebrate the birth of the Republic of South Sudan, as the dawn of a new promise for human rights for its people.
 
Today is a turning point in the history of the people of South Sudan, who have struggled for the last two decades to exercise their fundamental rights. On the day of its independence, we commemorate the sacrifice of those who struggled and the victims of the Sudanese civil war. 

South Sudan is now responsible for its own destiny and it has the opportunity to send a clear message to its own people and the international community that the new State is founded on respect for human rights, the rule of law and justice by ratifying and abiding by international human rights treaties, including the Rome Statue of the International Criminal Court .

The new Government needs to send a strong signal that it will uphold human rights and no impunity will be granted to those who violate them, to break the culture of violence that has ruled the region so far.  

"As we celebrate South Sudan’s independence, the road ahead still has many challenges. There is an urgent need to resolve outstanding issues, including the situation of the neighbouring regions of South Sudan and the division of natural resources with North Sudan. Much help will be needed from the international community to assist the new Republic of South Sudan in this process of reconstruction and to be ready to do what is necessary if there is a new escalation of violence in the region. 

"We expect South Sudan to cooperate with the ICC, including in the execution of the arrest warrants against 6 individuals including President Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir, indicted for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

“Now, right at the start of this new beginning, South Sudan finally has the opportunity to ensure respect for human rights and the rule of law, which are essential conditions of other development and reconstruction efforts, in order to bring about stability in the country. It also has the opportunity to make a firm commitment to its own people that this hard-won independence means something for their human rights and freedom."

 
For more information, please contact Alison Smith on asmith@npwj.org or +32-(0)2-548-3912, or Nicola Giovannini on ngiovannini@npwj.org or +32-(0)2-548-3915.