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

Jun 25, 2016 12:12 IST

Yasmin Sooka, the South African Indian-origin lawyer and long-time human rights activist, was appointed to chair a UN commission on 24 June 2016.

The commission will monitor the human rights situation in South Sudan and make recommendations for their improvement.

She will serve together with Kenneth Scott from the US and Godfrey Musila of Kenya on the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan.

The UN resolved to establish the Commission following calls for investigation into alleged atrocities by both government and rebel forces before an independent South Sudan was carved out of the larger Sudan in 2011.

Tasks for the Commission

• It will provide guidance to the government of South Sudan on transitional justice, accountability and reconciliation issues.

• It will engage with international and regional mechanisms to promote accountability for human rights violations and abuses.

Yasmin Sooka

• She carries vast experience in global human rights matters.

• At the time of appointment, she was the Executive Director of the Foundation for Human Rights (FHR) in South Africa. FHR is a grant making institution that implements programmes that promote and protect human rights. It also addresses the legacy of apartheid, to promote and advance transformation in the country and to build a human rights culture using the Constitution as a tool.

• Earlier, she has served on the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) established by former President Nelson Mandela from 1996-2001, assisting with the final report of the Commission.

• She has served UN’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Sierra Leone from 2002-2004.

• She was also an advisor on the UN Secretary General on accountability for war crimes committed during the final stages of the war in Sri Lanka.

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