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AU inquiry team demands extension for S. Sudan mandate

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June 27, 2014 (MALABO) – The African Union Commission of inquiry on South Sudan conflict wants its mandate, which ended mid-June, extended to allow the five-member team complete its tasks.

“We need an extension because we feel there is a lot to be done in order for the commission to carry out its mission”, Pacifique Manirakiza told reporters ahead of the 23 session of the AU summit held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.

“Once we get an extension through the African Union summit, the commission will come back to Addis Ababa, where the entire commission will sit and take some strategic decisions as to how we will continue to carry out our mandate,” he added.

The team, Manirakiza said, visited churches, hospitals and locations where killings of innocent civilians occurred in Upper Nile, Unity and Jonglei state capitals. The team reportedly also met members of the local communities, human rights workers, political party members and other actors.

Bineta Diop, another member of AU Commission of inquiry described as "terrible" the situation in South Sudan, which she said was characterised by ethnicity background.

"Most of our conflict are coming from the bad governance and bad leaders on our continent", said Diop.

"I think these bad leaders should be given an opportunity to experience the same conditions their citizens are subjected to within the refugee camps", she added.

Diop, however, said accountability, justice and reconciliation will form the focus of the AU commission of inquiry’s recommendation to the AU summit.

Established by the AU Commission chairperson on 6 March, the commission of inquiry was tasked to investigate the human rights violations and other abuses committed during the armed conflict in South Sudan.

The commission is mandate to make recommendations on the best ways and means to ensure accountability, reconciliation and healing among all South Sudan communities after collecting and review all available documentation pertaining to the human rights situation in South Sudan, including United Nations reports and those gathered by national and international specialists and non-governmental organisations.

(ST)

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