UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan extended by one year

UNITED NATIONS (AP) – The UN Security Council extended the mandate of the 19,000-strong UN peacekeeping force in South Sudan for a year on Tuesday, while calling for an immediate end to hostilities in the country and political dialogue to advance a plan to prevent the world. latest nation from returning to civil war.

The resolution was adopted by a 13-0 vote, with Russia and China abstaining, and both called the measure unbalanced to focus too much on human rights in the East African nation.

U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield welcomed the approval of the strengthened mandate for the mission, known as UNMISS, in the U.S.-sponsored resolution. She said the measure strengthens its mandate “to protect civilians, support the provision of humanitarian aid, monitor and investigate human rights and support the peace process.”

The United States also supports the resolution, she said, “because it calls on UNMISS to step up its sexual and gender-based violence prevention activities and respond to the horrific sexual violence in South Sudan.”

China’s Deputy UN Ambassador, Dai Bing, criticized the United States for pushing “for the inclusion of many human rights-related texts, resulting in a very unbalanced draft resolution.”

Russian Deputy Ambassador Anna Evstigneeva lamented that the resolution “did not properly reflect the positive developments in this young state” and instead “fixed on negative aspects”, leaving the text “unbalanced.”

“South Sudan may actually need help building capacity to address issues related to human rights, sexual violence, women’s empowerment, the fight against corruption,” she said. “But these issues are South Sudan’s internal affairs in the first place. It is our understanding that neither the Security Council nor the peacekeeping mission have the proper tools to address these tasks.”

South Sudan has existed as a nation for just over a decade after gaining independence from Sudan in 2011. Impatience has increased over the government’s slow implementation of a 2018 peace deal ending a five-year civil war, including the crucial work of merging once rival armed men forces. It is estimated that 400,000 people were killed in the civil war, and hundreds are still dying in inter-municipal violence around the country.

The resolution recognizes the reduction of violence between the parties to the 2018 peace agreement and notes that “the permanent ceasefire was maintained in most parts of the country.” It welcomes the current dialogue between signatory and non-signatory parties of the Sant’Egidio community, a Roma-based Catholic lay group focusing on service to the poor and peacebuilding.

But the Security Council reiterated its deep concern at the political, security, economic and humanitarian crisis in South Sudan.

It strongly condemned all fighting and expressed “serious concern” over increased violence between armed groups in some parts of the country. It also notes concerns over reports of the use of sexual violence “as a tactic by parties involved in the conflict against the civilian population in South Sudan, including the use of rape and sexual slavery for the purpose of intimidation and punishment.”

The resolution “calls on all parties to the conflict and other armed actions to immediately end the fighting throughout South Sudan and enter into political dialogue.”

It also reiterated the council’s “alarm about the serious humanitarian situation, the high levels of food insecurity in the country and likely famine in some areas, including an estimated 8.3 million people facing severe food insecurity, according to the World Food Program.”

The resolution strongly condemns all human rights violations and international humanitarian law by all parties, “including armed groups and national security forces.” It also condemns the “harassment, targeting and censorship of civil society, humanitarian personnel and journalists.”

The resolution states that holding free and fair elections “will be crucial for a transition to a stable, inclusive, democratic and self-sufficient state.”

The Security Council extended the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission until March 15, 2023, maintaining its troop ceiling of 17,000 and its police ceiling of 2,101.

The mission’s first priority remains the protection of civilians under threat of physical violence. This requirement includes deterrence, prevention and response to sexual and gender-based violence “within its capacity and scope.”

The mandate also includes the creation of conditions for the provision of humanitarian aid, support for the implementation of the peace agreement and the peace process, and the monitoring, investigation and reporting on human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law.

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