UN Special Rapporteur upset by postponement of her visit by South Sudan govt

The UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, Paula Gaviria Betancur, on Tuesday, expressed her deep disappointment at the decision of the Government of South Sudan to postpone her visit to the country at short notice.

The visit was scheduled to take place from 9 to 20 October 2023.

Gaviria said it is regrettable that the Government decided to postpone her visit at extremely short notice on Friday as she was preparing to embark the following day on what would have been her first visit to a country with large-scale internal displacement and critical protection needs.

“Citing the recent South Sudan Commission on Human Rights report on civic space, and the UN Secretary-General’s report on “Cooperation with the UN, its representatives, and mechanisms in the field of human rights”, as reasons for postponement sends the wrong message at a time when the protection of internally displaced persons in the country requires engagement of all humanitarian and development partners as well as the authorities to realize their human rights,” Gaviria Betancur said.

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The Special Rapporteur noted that as an independent expert mandated by the UN Human Rights Council, her task was to engage with authorities and other interlocutors to gather first-hand information on the prevention, root causes, and drivers of internal displacement, examine the needs and human rights of all those displaced, discuss their protection, assistance and durable solutions needs, among others.

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“Country visits help me to identify good practices, challenges, and opportunities to respond to internal displacement, and to support discussions among humanitarian and development actors,” the expert said. “Visits by UN mechanisms are carried out in a spirit of constructive cooperation and aimed at offering practical recommendations to governments with the ultimate objective of strengthening the protection and promotion of human rights in the country.”

Gaviria Betancur expressed her gratitude to all stakeholders involved in the preparation of the visit, including government officials, UN agencies, civil society organizations, internally displaced persons, and humanitarian and development partners.

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“I call upon the Government of South Sudan to propose new dates for my visit at their earliest convenience,” the expert said