SOUTH SUDAN: Security Council Issues Fresh Demands while Extending Mission’s Mandate

By Arnold Neliba

JUBA, MARCH 16, 2021 (CISA)-The United Nations Security Council has demanded that all parties to the conflict in South Sudan and other armed actors immediately stop fighting and engage in political dialogue in accordance to the peace agreement of 2018.

In a March 12 press statement, the council extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) until March 15, 2022.

“Acting under chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, the Council unanimously adopted   resolution 2567 (2021), by which it decided that the Mission’s mandate is designated to advance a three-year strategic vision to prevent a return to civil war, build a durable peace, and support inclusive and accountable governance –and free, fair and peaceful elections—in line with the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan,” the statement reads.

The 15-member council in their resolution stated that the mandate shall include the protection of civilians facing any threat of physical violence, with a specific protection for women and children.  UNMISS will also prevent violence against civilians through proactive deployment and active patrolling with attention to internally displaced persons and refugees.

“The mandate shall also include the creation of conditions that are conducive to the delivery of humanitarian assistance, supporting implementation of the Revitalized Agreement and the South Sudan peace process, as well as monitoring, investigating and reporting on violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights,” the council said.

The council also expressed readiness to adjust the mission’s overall force levels presently at 17,000 troops and 2,101 police depending on the security conditions on the ground and implementation of priority measures by the Government of South Sudan and relevant players.

Before the expiry of the mandate, the council expects the government and other players to: provide security to re-designated protection-of-civilian sites in a manner consistent with international human rights law and international humanitarian law; end all obstructions that hamper the Mission’s ability to monitor and investigate human rights violations and abuses; and initiate a permanent constitution-making process.

“Today’s resolution goes on to demand that all parties to the conflict immediately cease all forms of violence, human rights violations and abuses, and violations of international humanitarian law, including rape and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence, and to hold those responsible to account.  It also demands that all parties and other armed actors prevent further acts of sexual violence,” the council said.

The Council requested that the Secretary-General provide by 15 July 2021 a needs assessment for creating an enabling environment for elections, in addition to comprehensive reports every 90 days on implementation of the UNMISS mandate.