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South Sudan should end restrictions on UNMISS: U.S. urges

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Chinese peacekeepers patrol around the perimeter of UN House in Juba on 27 January 2016 (UNMISS Photo)

September 16, 2020 (JUBA) - The United States has called on South Sudanese authorities to end restrictions on UNMISS patrols and movements, stressing it is key area to evaluate progress in the peace process in the country.

Wednesday; the UN Security Council was briefed by UN officials on the implementation of the peace process in South Sudan. UNMISS head David Shearer spokes about security and political situation during the past three months while the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock briefed the meeting about the humanitarian situation.

Following what, Rodney Hunter, Political Coordinator at the U.S. Mission to the UN, reviewed the situation in South Sudan and pointed to three areas saying that his administration considers as key to judge progress in the peace process.

“There should be an end to South Sudan’s restrictions on UNMISS patrols and movements,” said Hunter.

“UNMISS is a critical component of the peace architecture in South Sudan and its operations have saved many thousands of lives. South Sudan’s leaders need to start treating UNMISS like a partner, not as an enemy,” he further stressed.

In his report covering the period between 1 June to 31 August, Shearer said: “the mission continued to experience access denial to patrols throughout the country”.

He added that on 19 July, South Sudanese army SSPDF and NSS agents at the Jur River checkpoint on the outskirts of Wau blocked a UNMISS quick reaction force that was mobilized to rescue the two IOM personnel who had been ambushed by unknown gunmen.

The UNMISS head also pointed to several restrictions on UNMISS imported goods and equipment, including rations and fuel.

The U.S. diplomat pointed to the recent violence in the Equatoria region and saying all the armed groups should observe the cessation of hostilities agreement, including the commitment brokered by Sant’Egidio group last February between the government and SSOMA.

Hunter spoke about the need to hold accountable responsible for violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights, including progress on implementing the Hybrid Court for South Sudan; civil society institutions.

Also, he pointed to the continued lack of freedom of expression saying that “the media and opposition political parties should operate without intimidation”.

(ST)

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