21 June 2011 - Just weeks before Southern Sudan declares its independence, UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kyung-wha Kang began a two-day visit to the region.
Ms. Kang held meetings with high-ranking Government of Southern Sudan officials, including Vice-President of Southern Sudan Dr. Riek Machar Teny and Minister of Regional Cooperation Deng Alor to discuss how human rights can be integrated into new state building efforts after 9 July.
The Deputy High Commissioner is in Sudan for an eight-day mission to raise key human rights issues and lend her support to defenders.
"We do believe that human rights have to be there from the very beginning, and the full commitment of the authorities is very important," Ms. Kang said. "So we want to engage the authorities in a dialogue on human rights and also to meet with the south Sudan human rights commissioners."
She stated that economic and social rights must top Southern Sudan's agenda and reaffirmed the UN's commitment to ensure that the region's people enjoy full rights and freedoms.
"We are ... committed to doing our very best (so) that every individual enjoys the full rights and freedom that he or she is born with... and here we are committed to supporting the authorities and other actors in this regard," said Ms. Kang.
During the six years of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement UNMIS has been supporting government and civil society efforts to promote and protect human rights.
Ms. Kang said that her office looked forward to increasing their presence in an independent south. "We certainly want to continue our strong presence. We have a very good presence through UNMIS already but we want to strengthen that."
The Commissioner and her delegation are expected to conclude their Southern Sudan visit with a trip to Kuajok and Turalei in Warrap State on 22 June.