Statement at the UNSC Briefing on South Sudan
Statement14 December 2022
Thank you President.
Thank you SRSG Haysom for your insightful briefing and for you and your team’s untiring efforts in support of the people of South Sudan.
Thank you also to Major General Gituai for your briefing on the work of the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission.
I would also like to thank Ambassador Biang for his briefing as Chair of the 2206 Sanctions Committee. This sanctions regime continues to play an important role in preventing conflict and promoting peace in South Sudan.
I also wish to welcome the presence of the Permanent Representative of South Sudan with us today.
Implementation of the Revitalised Agreement and advancement of the transition process are key to building peace in South Sudan. The passing of critical bills in recent months, such as the constitution-making bill and the national budget, have been welcome developments. However, we remain concerned that the extension of the transition process became inevitable not only due to lack of preparations but also political will.
We now need to see progress. The people of South Sudan cannot wait any longer to see the peace dividends that have been promised for so long. Elections must take place as planned by 20 December 2024 and the strict deadlines of the road map’s calendar must be met. It is regrettable that early benchmarks have already been missed and we call on the Government of South Sudan to urgently start implementing the road map.
Freedom of speech, assembly and expression will be critically important to ensure free, fair and credible elections. We remain deeply concerned about the stifling of civic space in the country and urge the Government to urgently address this.
The implementation process of the Revitalised Agreement must be genuinely inclusive, with the meaningful participation of women, youth, and civil society.
The graduation of the Necessary Unified Forces is a welcome step forward but agreement needs to be found on how they will be integrated into the overall security sector under the civilian-led authorities. We are concerned by reports of the lack of training received by some force members, and we encourage ongoing training, including on human rights and conflict related sexual violence.
The reported 60% decrease in overall violent incidents against civilians between June and September is welcome. We hope that this reduction will continue. However, we remain concerned at ongoing levels of subnational violence, including in Upper Nile State.
This includes horrifying instances of sexual and gender-based violence. And we call again for urgent implementation of the 2014 Joint Communiqué on the Prevention of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence to protect women and girls, to hold perpetrators accountable, and to ensure services for survivors.
The first Irish Ministerial visit to South Sudan in early September bore witness to the impact of conflict and climate change on individuals and communities. A fourth year of climate change induced flooding has directly impacted over one million people. Combined with insecurity this is fuelling a further deterioration in the humanitarian situation, and is leading to vulnerable people being displaced multiple times.
The dangers facing humanitarian workers are also exacerbating the situation. It is deplorable that nine humanitarian workers have been killed so far this year, almost double the number killed in 2021. We call on the Government of South Sudan to create a safer environment for aid and humanitarian workers, and to bring perpetrators of such attacks to justice.
The shocking truth is that two-thirds of the South Sudanese population are likely to face acute food insecurity between April and July next year. That is almost eight million people struggling to stay alive. This should not only sober us, but drive us to seek better for the people of South Sudan.
We cannot just accept that the violence and insecurity is so entrenched that it cannot be solved. The Roadmap by the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission gives us a plan to ensure a more peaceful and prosperous future for South Sudan. What we need now is the political will to implement it.
Thank you, President.