Statement by Ambassador Flynn at the UNSC Briefing on UNISFA
Statement27 October 2021
Thank you Madame President,
Let me start by thanking Under-Secretary-General Lacroix, Special Envoy and former President Mbeki for your insightful briefings. I would like to welcome also the representatives of Sudan and South Sudan with us today.
Ireland had been encouraged by the continued improvement in relations between Sudan and South Sudan. However, we are deeply concerned about developments in Sudan and condemn the military coup, which endangers the transition in Sudan and indeed progress made in the wider Horn of Africa region. Civilian leaders who have been detained must be released immediately, and the democratic transitional institutions and framework full restored. The actions of the military represent a betrayal of the revolution, the transition, and the legitimate requests of the Sudanese people for peace, justice and economic development.
Sustaining the rapprochement between Sudan and South Sudan is crucial to sustainable peace for the people of Abyei. We urge Sudan and South Sudan to find a peaceful and lasting solution to the final status of Abyei and the demarcation of the border.
Despite troubling reports of intercommunal violence, we are encouraged by the commitment of the Ngok Dinka and Misseriya communities to peace. Young people in Abyei face many challenges and their inclusion at all levels in the peace process is critical. We commend UNISFA’s efforts in this regard.
We are also heartened to read of UNISFA’s engagement with civil society organisations on gender issues and of the Ngok Dinka Paramount Chief’s pledge to further the participation of women in traditional leadership structures and to address the issues of early marriage and gender-based violence. Yet we know major obstacles to women’s participation in decision-making and political processes remain, with just a single woman now serving as minister in the Juba-appointed administration in Abyei. We reaffirm the need for all parties to recognize the invaluable and critical contributions that women make and to ensure their full and unfettered participation.
As we discussed just last week, we are concerned by the deterioration of the security environment in Gok Machar and at UN team sites, including threats to the safety and security of peacekeepers.
Sadly, unacceptable breaches of the Status of forces agreement resulted in the death of an Ethiopian peacekeeper on 14 September after a refusal of medical evacuation. We express our deepest condolences to the family of the deceased and to the Government of Ethiopia. In this regard, we urge the Government of South Sudan to honor its obligations under the Status of Forces Agreement with UNISFA.
We encourage the Government of South Sudan to intensify its mediation efforts with members of the local community in Gok Machar, engage constructively with UNISFA, and facilitate the urgent redeployment of UNISFA personnel to team sites 11 and 12. I also encourage UNISFA to address community concerns in a timely and transparent manner.
We also call on Sudan to facilitate implementation of the mandate. As we have done before, Ireland echoes the calls of the Secretary General for the operationalisation of the Athony airstrip, the issuance of visas for UN police personnel, and the deployment of human rights expertise to UNISFA.
The security situation in Abyei remains tense and unpredictable. We sincerely thank Ethiopia for its crucial contribution over many years to the UNISFA peacekeeping mission. Any shift in the make-up of the UNISFA force requires careful planning and sequencing to ensure a smooth rotation.
Lastly, Madame President, Ireland welcomes the recent Strategic Review of UNISFA that included recommendations for the potential reconfiguration of the mission and a viable exit strategy. We also take careful note of the options presented in the Strategic Review and we thank USG Lacroix for his additional insights today. It is clear that a political process led by the stakeholders involved, and actively supported by the African Union and the AU High Implementation Panel, will be crucial for sustainable peace. We commend UNISFA for the important work it is doing in extremely challenging circumstances and we look forward to constructively engaging on the upcoming mandate renewal.
Thank you Madame President