Home | News    Thursday 17 December 2020

S. Sudan peace implementation requires global support: UN official

December 16, 2020 (JUBA) – The international community is urgently needed to expedite the slow implementation of South Sudan’s revitalized peace agreement, a senior United Nations official said.

David Shearer UNMISS head briefs the Security Council on 26 September 2017 (UN photo)

David Shearer, head of the UN mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) told the Security Council on Tuesday that the momentum in South Sudan’s peace process is linked to the strength of international engagement.

He outlined a number of achievements so far made in the implementation of the peace deal, citing the formation of a transitional government, the appointment of nine of the 10 state governors and the functional nature of most national institutions.

“These achievements are to be commended. But progress is lagging,” he said. Arrangements to unify security forces are stalled and a dispute over the governorship in the Upper Nile, which is also halting the appointment of country commissioners,” said Shearer.

He added, “This hold-up leaves a local vacuum of power and makes it difficult to nip in the bud brewing intercommunal violence”.

This year, the top UN official said, over 2,000 civilians have died in the local-level conflict being “weaponized and turbocharged” by external actors acting in their own economic or political interests.

“Anticipating this, UNMISS has established five new temporary bases in conflict hotspots in line with its “proactive, robust and nimble” approach. Integrated military and civilian teams are in place right now, to deter violence, de-escalate conflict and support reconciliation between parties,” said Shearer.

"The Government’s refusal to enable mission access to many areas has hampered this work, although restrictions have recently eased," he added.

According to Shearer, the transition of the protection of civilians sites to conventional displacement camps has started, due to the wind-down in intense conflict and continued need for humanitarian access.

In the past three months, Bor, Wau and Juba sites have transitioned smoothly, through consultation with all stakeholders, he revealed, adding, "Planning is underway at other sites as well, but transitions only take place when conditions are right".

In addition, Shearer stressed, UN police officers are collocated with their national counterparts, providing them with training for community policing as the Government assumes ownership of the sites with UNMISS technical support.