April 15, 2014 (JUBA) – Local and international organisations in South Sudan on Tuesday urged president Salva Kiir to ensure his country ratifies the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR).
The appeal was made in a petition issued ahead of the 55th ordinary session of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, which will begin from 28 April.
“We request that you complete the ratification process by assenting to the ratification of the Charter without further delay, and then ensure that the ministry of foreign affairs transmits the instrument of ratification to the African Union,” partly reads the 15 April petition.
South Sudan became a member of the African Union (AU) when it gained independence in July 2011. The petitioners have, however, expressed concern that the new nation is the only AU member, which is not party to the African Charter.
In March 2013, the ACHPR issued a resolution, urging South Sudan government to immediately ratify and domesticate the African Charter and other fundamental human rights instruments.
The eight different organisations, in their petition, stressed that ratification of the African Charter would help the country in resolving its conflict plagued by serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian laws, including attacks on civilians, looting and destruction of civilian property, rape and forms of sexual violence.
“Prompt ratification of the African Charter would demonstrate the government’s commitment to the improvement of the human rights situation in the country,” the petition noted.
“Ratification of the Charter would also allow both the government and South Sudanese citizens to benefit from the attention and expertise of the members of the ACHPR on human rights issues,” it added.
South Sudan council of ministers adopted a resolution in March last year approving seven regional and international instruments, including the African Charter. Seven months later, its national legislative assembly voted to ratify the African Charter.