JUBA, APRIL 10, 2023 (SUDANS POST) – The Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) has called on the government to ensure that soldiers deployed to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as part of the East African Community peacekeeping mission do not engage in human rights abuses or economic exploitation of natural resources.
In a statement extended to Sudans Post this morning, CEPO Executive Director Edmund Yakani emphasized the need for accountability and monitoring of South Sudan soldiers’ actions during their deployment in the restive DR Congo.
“The government should assign a small civilian-led mechanism to tracking our soldiers’ performance in the DR Congo mission,” he said. “In our side as civil society organizations, we will be tracking the performance of our soldiers in performing their respective role as peacekeepers in the DRC through our regional civil society platform.”
Yakani also stressed the importance of compliance with human rights values and non-exploitation of natural resources, as well as abstaining from sexual exploitation of civilian populations. He called on the national parliament to regularly assess the soldiers’ performance and provide oversight.
“It is essential for the national parliament to regularly get hearings on our soldiers’ performance,” Yakani said.
South Sudan’s deployment of troops to the DRC is part of a wider East African Community peacekeeping mission aimed at helping the government there stop advancing M23 rebel group and restore stability in the restive country.
However, concerns have been raised about the potential for human rights abuses and exploitation of natural resources by foreign troops operating in the country. This is because South Sudanese soldiers have been involved in human rights abuses at home.
Observers say that with its focus on accountability and transparency, CEPO’s call for monitoring and oversight of South Sudan’s soldiers in the DRC could contribute to a more effective and responsible peacekeeping mission.
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