London — The UK's Minister for Africa delivered this statement during the Interactive Dialogue with the Commission on South Sudan.
Thank you, Madam President.
The United Kingdom thanks the Commission for its work, including the recent report.
We welcome South Sudan's cooperation with the Commission and indeed this Council. However, we are extremely concerned by continuing sub-national violence and its impact on civilian population. The brutality and scale of human rights abuses and violations documented in the report, including widespread sexual and gender-based violence, are disturbing. Reports of hindering humanitarian access to the point where starvation is being used as a weapon of war are of particular concern, not least in the context of a severe and widespread food insecurity crisis, with the likely famine in Western Pibor, and the famine-like conditions in other parts of the country.
The UK is pleased to hear of South Sudan's recent commitment to progress the Hybrid Court and other justice mechanisms. We call on the government to translate these promises into action.
We also urge the government to be honest about assessing the situation, and to ensure that human rights defenders can carry out their work. As we look to join South Sudan in celebrating ten years of independence, we urge the government to continue cooperation with the Council and redouble its efforts to deliver tangible improvements.
I ask, what steps should the Government of South Sudan take to ensure that those responsible for impeding humanitarian access are held to account?
SOURCE UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office