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Campaign group calls for truth and reconcilation in S. Sudan

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June 20, 2021 (NAIROBI) - South Sudanese leaders should not sacrifice justice for a reconciliation likely to be short-term and inadequate in the absence of accountability, Agnes Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General warned Monday

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President Kiir shakes hands with his FVP Macahr in a recent meeting at the presidency (SSPPU photo)

In a letter to President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Riek Machar, she urged both leaders to ensure that “survivors and victims of atrocities committed in South Sudan’s conflict that broke out in December 2013 are given a comprehensive and holistic response to the harm they suffered, including truth and trials”.

On June 7, Callamard sent the letter privately first to the two leaders, five years after the New York Times ran an opinion article by the two leaders (later disowned by Machar) entitled “South Sudan Needs Truth, Not Trials” extolling the virtues of reconciliation over criminal prosecutions.

Heavy fighting broke out between forces loyal to Kiir and those loyal to Machar, killing hundreds of civilians, a day after the publication of the op-ed.

“Only a holistic process that caters to the diversity of victims and their multiples needs and desires, that guarantees non-recurrence of the violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, and addresses a range of human rights, including the right to truth, the right to reparations and the right to justice, can bring an end to violations in South Sudan,” wrote Callamard.

Tens of thousands of civilians have been killed in the South Sudan conflict, thousands subjected to rape and other sexual violence, and millions have been displaced from their homes, their villages burnt and pillaged.

(ST)

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