Home | News    Thursday 27 August 2020

HRW, local initiative call for to probe missing South Sudanese

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The National Security facility in Juba, also known as the Blue House (Radio Eye photo)August 28, 2020 (NAIROBI) - Human Rights Watch and a local group have called on the South Sudanese government to investigate the fate and whereabouts of people who are missing from the years of war in the country.

Thousands of South Sudanese are still missing as the authorities deny being responsible for the disappearances since the conflict broke out in December 2013 despite reports by UN and rights groups and activists about their arrest and detention.

As the world marks the International Day of the Disappeared on August 30 Human Rights Watch and Remembering the Ones We Lost issued a joint call to the South Sudanese government calling to probe the case of the missing people and to join the International Convention on the Protection on All Persons from Enforced Disappearances (ICPPED).

Remembering The Ones We Lost, which was established in 2014, has documented 280 names of missing people since December 2013, some of whom were abducted or detained by security forces and meet the definition of enforced disappearance.

The International Committee of the Red Cross reported in 2019 that over 4,000 people were still missing since the war started and their fate or whereabouts remained unknown.

“People have vanished in South Sudan, and are presumed detained or dead,” said Jehanne Henry, East Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

“These unresolved cases are spreading fear and terror among the public. The government needs to acknowledge that people are still missing and take concrete steps to investigate and hold those responsible to account,” Henry further stressed.

South Sudan’s transitional government has not investigated the missing people. Also, security authorities refuse to acknowledge their arrest or abduction or what happened to them.

The joint statement recalled that the ICPPED prohibits enforced disappearances, which violate fundamental rights to liberty and security, and to be free from torture or cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.

International law requires the parties to a conflict to account for people reported missing and provide their family members with any information the authorities have about what happened to them.

The United Nations Security Council, in a landmark resolution in 2019, called on parties to armed conflicts globally to strengthen efforts toward uncovering what happened to those missing and giving closure to their families.

While some of those reported missing may turn out to have been forcibly disappeared, others may have been abducted or detained by other people, forcefully recruited into armed groups, or fled, perished, or met other outcomes.

(ST)

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