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Slow progress, stubborn cycles of violence, as South Sudan turns 10

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Slow progress, stubborn cycles of violence, as South Sudan turns 10

South Sudan, the UN’s youngest member state, is celebrating its 10th anniversary of independence amid languishing political progress and a host of humanitarian challenges, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative told members of the Security Council on Monday.

NEW YORK, USA, June 23, 2021, – / African Media Agency (AMA) / – Nicholas Haysom, who also heads the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan, known as UNMISS, recalled the broad international optimism surrounding the country. independence on July 9, 2011.

Yet a decade later, widespread insecurity, particularly violence between communities, continues to obstruct the realization of lasting and sustainable peace.

Political progress

Reporting on some notable achievements on the ground since his predecessor’s last briefing before the Council in March, Mr. Haysom said that the Government of South Sudan has reconstituted the national legislature and appointed 550 new members. He also established a task force to oversee and coordinate transitional justice and other judicial reforms.

Importantly, the government also launched a “permanent constitution-making process”, based on an inclusive national conversation that aims to lay the groundwork for a new social contract among the citizens of South Sudan.

“Writing a national Constitution is an act of sovereignty par excellence,” said Mr. Haysom. “It expresses the highest aspirations of a nation and its most precious values.”

For its part, UNMISS recently deployed the needs assessment mission requested by the Council, for the holding of free and fair elections. A detailed report will be sent shortly.

Slow steps

Despite that progress, overall implementation of the South Sudan Revitalized Peace Agreement, adopted in 2018 in the context of multiple political and security crises, remains slow.

While the Revitalized Accord provides a clear roadmap for peace through reform, political transformation, security, development and national reconciliation, many of its requirements have not been met almost three years later.

In particular, the constitution of the Council of States and the appointment of the president of the legislative assembly are pending. Transitional security arrangements remain delayed and widespread insecurity continues to prevent sustainable peace from taking hold.

Haysom told council members that, so far in 2021, more than 80% of civilian casualties have been attributed to violence between communities and community militias.

Violence and food shortages

Among many critical tasks, UNMISS continues to support the Government in protecting displaced populations.

However, weak or absent state government institutions across South Sudan have allowed spoilers to “exploit perennial ethnic and communal rifts,” Haysom warned.

Ingrained insecurity has also hampered the cultivation of crops and contributed to a vicious cycle of cattle raiding, leaving many communities dangerously short of food.

Noting that the UN and regional actors share deep concern over the resumption of violence between communities in the country’s Greater Pibor district, he underscored the need for the Government to take concrete measures to address the root causes of the conflict.

UNMISS continues to work with local authorities and communities to promote reconciliation, secure the release of abducted women and children, and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

Critical global support

In addition, Mr. Haysom sounded the alarms about the worrying weakening of rule of law institutions and deteriorating economic conditions, which have led to an increase in crime and the targeting of humanitarian workers.

In 2021 alone, four humanitarian workers were killed in South Sudan and millions of dollars in humanitarian supplies were looted or destroyed.

Promising that UNMISS will continue to lead in promoting and advocating for the safe delivery of humanitarian aid, Mr. Haysom called for “irreversible progress towards peace”, which will require tangible progress compared to the benchmarks of the Revitalized Peace Agreement. .

These include elections, a new constitution and the establishment of democratic institutions, he said, drawing the attention of members to the sense of jubilation at the UN over South Sudan’s incorporation into the community of nations in 2011.

“The international then promised its support to South Sudan,” he said. “This commitment remains as important and urgent today as the world’s youngest nation strives to bring peace and security to its citizens.”

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