Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Nicholas Haysom's remarks at the launch of the national consultative process for the establishment of the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing
Your Excellency, Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, the President of Republic of South Sudan
Your Excellency, Riek Machar Teny, the First Vice presidents of the Republic of South Sudan
Vice Presidents, Ministers including our host, Honorable Justice Ruben Madol Arol, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs
Excellencies Ambassadors and representatives of international community
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my honour to be with you today at the launch of the National Consultative Process for the establishment of the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing (CTRH). This is an issue close to my heart. I participated in the establishment, with President Mandela, of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in my own country, South Africa.
I commend President Kiir and First Vice President Machar for the spirit of common purpose in which we arrive in this hall today. This week’s agreement on a command structure is a significant achievement; and one that can accelerate implementation of the Revitalized Agreement at a time when momentum is sorely needed. It sends a strong message to the people of this young nation that their leaders are indeed committed to peace and stability, and a brighter future for all.
The launch of today’s process demonstrates a commitment to justice, accountability, reconciliation and healing. It is an undertaking to realize the rights to truth, justice, reparation and the guarantees of non-recurrence, by addressing the root causes of past harms. Our collective hope is that reform and reconciliation can contribute to a more resilient and strong society—transitional justice is an essential prerequisite for sustainable peace.
I would particularly like to commend the Government of South Sudan for establishing the Task Force within the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs to oversee the implementation of Chapters 5 and 6 of the peace agreement; and also the launch of the Technical Committee for the establishment of the Commission on Truth Reconciliation and Healing. I encourage additional steps to advance the other mechanisms contemplated in that chapter.
Ten months are left of the transitional period. I strongly encourage all parties to channel a renewed momentum towards completion of the remaining benchmarks in the peace agreement. The resurgence of sub-national violence across the country, amplified by growing humanitarian needs, underscores the urgency of this moment.
For its part, the UN family remains steadfast in our support to the Government of South Sudan, and parties to the peace agreement, on transitional justice issues at national, state, and local level through capacity-building, technical, financial and logistical support. For example:
We’re supporting civil society partners - especially members of the Transitional Justice Working Group - by bringing together diverse voices for dialogue. We have also worked with local civil society partners on the establishment of transitional justice centers (in Juba, Yei, Wau and Yambio). And in the framework “Breaking the cycle of violence” project, we are supporting national civil society organizations to establish victim and survivor networks in Unity and Jonglei.
In order to address impunity and foster access to justice, the UN continues to advocate for accountability for human rights violations and abuses, including through evidenced-based strategic processes to increase awareness and commitments to bring perpetrators to justice. For example, the UN family works together with government to deliver justice to the vulnerable through the deployment of special and mobile courts, especially in areas where justice actors are absent.
The UN is providing technical support to the national government and parties to the conflict in South Sudan to address conflict-related sexual violence through the implementation of a holistic plan.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The promotion of civic space is key in enabling civil society, the media, grassroots actors, victims, survivors, and witnesses to meaningfully participate in public life, where they can openly press their demands, interests and differences.
The UN will continue to work in partnership with the government and other stakeholders in ensuring that best practice principles—such as inclusiveness, participation, gender-sensitivity, victim-centeredness, transparency, and national ownership—are integrated into the consultation process and the design of transitional justice institutions.
In closing, the durability of this nation’s transitional justice process will be long lasting only if it is led by South Sudanese themselves, by society as a whole. Let me reaffirm that the Mission stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the people and government as you seek to turn a new page, heal the wounds of the past, and consolidate a path towards peace.
I wish you well as you embark on this journey of collective healing.