South Sudan Current Affairs - 2019

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Indian-origin lawyer Yasmin Sooka to chair UN commission on human rights in South Sudan

South African Indian-origin lawyer Yasmin Sooka has been appointed to chairman of three member UN commission (committee) to monitor the human rights situation in South Sudan.

The committee was constituted by the United Nations Human Right Council (UNHRC) resolution 31/20 which was adopted by consensus, the 47-member body.

Key Facts

  • Other two members of the committee are Kenneth R. Scott (US) and Godfrey M. Musila (Kenya).
  • The committee has been tasked to monitor human rights violations in South Sudan and make recommendations for the process of transitional justice, healing and reconciliation.
  • The Commissioners will serve in their personal capacities and shall provide guidance to the South Sudan Government on transitional justice, accountability and reconciliation issues.
  • It will also engage with regional and international mechanisms to promote accountability for human rights violations and abuses.
  • The committee will have tenure of one year and shall present a comprehensive written report to the UNHRC at its 34th regular session in March 2017.

About Yasmin Sooka

  • She has vast experience in global human rights matters. Currently she is serving as the Executive Director of the Foundation for Human Rights (FHR) in South Africa.
  • She was also a leading anti-apartheid activist and had served on the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) established by former President Nelson Mandela.
  • She also had served on the UN’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Sierra Leone from 2002-2004.
  • She also had advised the UN Secretary General on accountability for war crimes committed during the final stages of the war in Sri Lanka


The UNHRC had constituted Commission following calls for investigation into alleged atrocities committed by the government and rebel forces before an independent South Sudan was carved out of the larger Sudan in 2011 over the issue of ethnicity.

Syria officially joins UN chemical weapons pact

UN confirmed that it has received documents from Syria on joining the Chemical Weapons Convention.

  • The convention requires all parties to declare and destroy all of the chemical weapons they possess.
  • Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has the job is to implement the Chemical Weapons Convention, a treaty which came into force in 1997 and which requires all member nations to eliminate their chemical weapons stocks and related facilities.
  • The Norwegian Nobel Committee recently awarded the OPCW the Nobel Peace Prize 2013 for “its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons”.
  • OPCW was created in 1997.
  • OPCW is based in The Hague, Netherlands
  • Full name of the treaty: “The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction
  • The treaty entered into force in 1997.
  • Syria is the 190th country to join the convention.
  • Only 6 UN states have yet to sign the international treaty, they are: Angola, Burma, Egypt, Israel, North Korea and South Sudan.