The United States condemned Tuesday the decision by South Sudan to expel a United Nation’s official who was investigating reports of human rights abuses in that country.
South Sudan said it was expelling the UN official because the investigator had published “unethical” reports, including “reporting on human rights issues that she could not verify and has been publishing without justifications”.
“We are deeply concerned about the Republic of South Sudan’s decision to order a Human Rights Officer working for the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to depart the country within 48 hours,” said Mark C. Toner, acting spokesperson for the State Department.
In a press statement, Toner stressed that “The United States fully supports UNMISS and its efforts to strengthen government institutions, to provide humanitarian relief, and to monitor, mitigate, and prevent conflict throughout South Sudan.”
Human rights monitoring, investigation and reporting are core elements of the UNMISS mandate, Toner noted, adding that, “It is important that the Mission’s Human Rights Officers be allowed to carry out this work without fear of reprisal or expulsion. Fostering deeper respect for fundamental freedoms and human rights will strengthen South Sudan’s democratic, civic, and national identity, and we encourage further progress in that regard.”
On Monday, a group of South Sudanese and international human rights groups said South Sudan should join the great majority of United Nations members that have abolished the death penalty in law or practice by placing a moratorium on all executions.