Statement by Ambassador Byrne Nason at the UNSC Briefing on the Situation in South Sudan
Statement07 March 2022
Thank you very much Madam President.
First I’d like to thank Nicholas for illustrating not just the achievements of UNMISS but also setting out for us very clearly the challenges that remain, and I think you gave us a a very timely and insightful reflection about where we are at as we work towards the renewal of the Mission’s mandate. So thank you very much for that
And I also want to thank Major General Gituai [GIT-TIE] – for your work. We are deeply indebted to the work you and your teams are carrying out to see through the implementation of the peace agreement. Which clearly is a tough job Riya, I wanted to say specifically to you – to thank you for your very sober, and your frank assessments that you gave us this morning really particularly coming to us from the views of what is happening on the ground. Which we need to hear about – the grassroots level. I heard you say this morning that resilience is fading. And that really struck me certainly, and I think others here in the chamber. And for my part I want to reassure you that the phenomenal effort of civil society groups on the ground in South Sudan is deeply appreciated. And you should be assured that your work will always have the support of my country Ireland for sure. But it’s also very clear from what we heard from you today that we need to do better. And we heard what you said about the horrific abuses underway including Conflict Related Sexual violence which we find totally unacceptable. And we need to address that I also noted very clearly your own assessment about the lack of readiness on the ground for elections. But we want to thank you for your clear speak to us here this morning.
Ireland also notes that the Secretary General’s report outlines welcome progress in some areas. And in that regard In particular, I wanted to welcome the progress that has been made on the constitution-making process. WE want to call now for its continuation and for its continuation in an open and inclusive manner. Bu we have to say once again that we regret that the implementation of the peace process itself remains limited at best. And I think that’s reinforced, frankly, by what we heard from the speakers and briefers today
The fact is that progress is simply too slow. And now we are hearing questions being raised as to how elections can actually be delivered next year
Urgent action, cooperation between all parties of course remains essential and we need to promote and help an understanding and an acceptance that delivering effectively for citizens actually also means embracing accountability. It is critical for the welfare of the people of South Sudan and also for the people’s own confidence in the peace process, that we see faster progress and concrete steps being taken.
The recent reports emanating from Tambura are particularly shocking. Politicized sub-national violence, grave human rights abuses, including the systematic use of sexual violence, are of course completely and utterly horrifying and unacceptable and we fully agree with those here today who have said that we cannot look the other way in the face of such abuses. I also think this highlights that UNMISS’s own role in monitoring and investigating human rights violations is not just critically important but absolutely necessary and the increased deployment of Temporary Operating Bases by UNMISS to support populations that are affected by increased insecurity is extremely welcome. And we see it as a really important step.
Ireland is very concerned by the alarming level of persistent humanitarian need in South Sudan the sheer numbers of citizens requiring assistance is truly shocking. . We regret not only the impact this has on the lives and prospects of young, as Nicholas said and old, but also the state’s failure to work with the necessary energy and resources really invested in tackling this crisis. As the humanitarian crisis deepens, full and unrestricted humanitarian access and the protection of humanitarian workers - if we can say it once we say it a thousand times - remains critical. All sides must respect International Humanitarian Law and allow aid to reach those vulnerable people who most desperately need it. It’s a basic and fundamental concern
In addition to this, we remain very alert to the undeniable impact of climate change on peace and security in South Sudan. Prolonged and intense flooding, we see, has increased population displacement, it has disrupted agriculture, it has altered cattle migration patterns, all risks accentuating, or - we’re seeing - provoking violence. These are neither new nor unexpected phenomena – but we are witnessing them as results of climate impacts for some time. Climate and Security are interacting clearly in South Sudan.
In recognizing the action that is required on this front, Ireland is proud to fund a Climate Security Advisor with UNMISS to help identify and address climate-related security risks and to support community-led/based peace-building measures to mitigate such risks and prevent violence.
I want to thank the Special Representative and his UNMISS colleagues for their steadfast efforts to bring about peace in the country. And that’s not least through the Mission’s protection mandate, including its support for civil society, and that’s particularly important given the concerning reports of the shrinking diminishing civil, civic space, which we heard Riya speak of very clearly this morning. An open civil society space is particularly critical in the context of preparations - whatever the timeframe - for elections – it is crucial to ensure an inclusive democratic process in which all voices can be heard.
The peace workshops of the South Sudan Women’s Empowerment Network offer promise for meaningful participation by women, and I want to particularly welcome that. we are heartened by the development of the pilot Community Violence Reduction project and look forward to hearing of its progress in due course.
Mr President, Madam President, excuse me
The importance of engagement by neighbors and regional actors such as the African Union and IGAD cannot be overstated today. We welcome H.E. President Museveni’s intention to convene a retreat in Kampala and we welcome the recent visit of the African Union Peace and Security Council to Juba, Jonglei and Pibor.
We hope both initiatives will help to chart a path forward to the effective implementation of the peace agreement, which we expect will include the establishment of the Compensation and Reparation Authority, the Commission on Truth, Reconciliation and Healing and the Hybrid Court for South Sudan, as committed to by President Kiir in his New Year message
To conclude Madam President,
We want to support a pathway to a brighter future for South Sudan and it’s clear that inclusive, and democratic elections, hopefully in 2023,
can represent a turning point for South Sudan, but that can only happen if South Sudan can work to fully implement the peace agreement
Real peace, I believe, is within reach. We know what that looks like. And it can be achieved when basic needs are met, when human rights are protected, and women’s rights are human rights as we know, and when the citizens of South Sudan are free and safe to express themselves without fear of repercussions. I think we wish them absolutely nothing less
Thank you. Madam President