Friday, November 26, 2021

Sudan Tribune

Plural news and views on Sudan

Free and fair elections critical for South Sudan’s stability: UN


October 27, 2021 (NEW YORK) – Free and fair elections involving all citizens and political groups in South Sudan are critical for a transition towards a stable, inclusive, democratic and self-reliant state, the United Nations Security Council said in a statement on Wednesday.

The Security Council, in the statement extended to Sudan Tribune, also underscored that election will need to be preceded by an inclusive, transparent constitution-drafting process, carried out in an environment that respects freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, and encourages civic engagement.

Members of the 15-member Council urged South Sudanese authorities to make progress on key milestones, citing the necessary security arrangements, the establishment of the legal framework for elections, including the electoral system, boundary delimitation, national census, special measures for internally displaced persons, refugees, out-of-country voting and dispute resolution mechanisms.

“The Security Council expresses its appreciation for the leadership of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in advancing the peace process in South Sudan and welcomes the commitment and efforts of IGAD and its member states, the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC), the African Union (AU), including the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC), and countries in the region to continue engaging with South Sudanese leaders to address the current crisis and provide early and sustained support to the electoral processes in South Sudan,” partly reads the statement.

Meanwhile, the Security Council expresses grave concern regarding the increased violence between armed groups in some parts of South Sudan, which has killed and displaced thousands, and condemns all acts of violence, human rights violations and abuses, and violations of international humanitarian law by parties involved.

It further called on South Sudanese leaders to take immediate and effective measures to restore stability to facilitate the preparation and conduct of free and fair elections as stipulated in the peace accord.

For his part, however, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, the Secretary-General Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, also briefed Council Members on the region and relations between Sudan and South Sudan.

He noted that most of what he was reporting “may sound a bit removed from the unfolding situation in Sudan which could potentially negatively impact bilateral relations”, but also hoped that “the recent positive trend will not be derailed.”

He said the two countries have been deepening their relationship, pointing out several high-level visits and initiatives in support of each other’s peace processes.

For the Special Envoy, a newly agreed deal to resume export and border trade is a crucial step, but has so far not materialized, having been overtaken by the unfolding events in Sudan.

Regarding Abyei, he said, “the long-standing deadlock has hindered any progress, besides leaving the area with a clearly defined status that has continued to stoke instability.”

The Special Representative also highlighted the high-level committees that both countries established, informing that they are currently both reviewing all past agreements.

According to the envoy, the goal is to have negotiations, facilitated by a third party that would lead to the settlement of the final status of the region.