May 27, 2014 (NEW YORK) – The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Tuesday extended the mandate of its South Sudan mission (UNMISS), giving civilian protection, addressing security, humanitarian and the country’s political crisis priority.
- A United Nations Security Council session (UN)
The UNSC, in its resolution, extended the mission’s mandate until 30 November 2014, and authorised it to use “all necessary means” to protect civilians, monitor and investigate human rights, create the conditions for delivery of humanitarian assistance, and support the implementation of the ceasefire agreement.
UNMISS has been protecting between 75,000 and 80,000 civilians who have sought safety at its bases around the country for months since the violence began last year.
As such, the mission in its new mandate is expected to focus and streamline its activities, across its military, police and civilian components in line with is new role.
The mission will, however, remains with the 12,500 troops and 1,323 police forces approved by the UNSC in late December last year when violence broke out in the South Sudanese capital, Juba following disputes between the presidential guards.
Over a million people have been displaced internally and into neighbouring nations with over 10,000 killed since fighting broke out in the new nation almost six-months ago.
Meanwhile the Security Council of the world body also endorsed recommendations made by its Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a recent report, which advocated for an increase in the overall force levels of UNMISS to support its restructured mandate.
The UN chief was, however, requested to review needs on the ground, and provide an updated assessment of the force’s operations, deployment and future requirements 120 days after Tuesday’s adoption of the UNSC resolution.
Ki Moon welcomed the UNSC resolution as well as its decision on deployment within the mission of an Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) task force to support protection of civilians and the Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (MVM) established pursuant to the 23 January cessation of hostilities agreement.
The mission’s new mandate, he said, was important to the peace and security in South Sudan, but emphasised that every effort be made by potential contributors to deploy all troops, police and enablers to the mission as soon as possible.
The secretary-general also reminded the parties to the conflict of their primary responsibility to protect civilians from violence and end impunity, urging the warring parties to implement the agreements signed by both parties on 23 January, and as recommitted to on 9 May, without further delay.
The parties should show the political will necessary to advance the political process and provide their full cooperation to UNMISS as it carries out its mandate, he said.
The UNSC separately condemned “in the strongest terms” attacks on and threats made to UNMISS personnel and UN facilities, including violations of the status of forces agreement, stressing that such attacks may constitute war crimes.
A South Sudanese entity said the UNSC should ensure that the UNMISS mandate is reviewed in a manner that does not allow its leadership compromise on executing their stipulated tasks.
"In the recent political crisis, UNMISS is viewed as taking sides which is not true, but that came as a result of too much silence and late reply to raised concerns either by the state authorities or the public", Edmund Yakani, the executive director of Community Empowerment for Progress Organisation (CEPO) said in an emailed statement to Sudan Tribune on Tuesday.
He, however, urged the UNSC to ensure the leadership of its South Sudan mission engage more in effective sensitisation of communities and state authorities on their mandate