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UNMISS chief urges S. Sudan’s warring parties to resolve crisis

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December 11, 2014 (JUBA) – The representative for the UN secretary-general in South Sudan, Ellen Margethe Loej, has called on South Sudan’s warring parties to move swiftly to end the country’s one-year-old conflict by “injecting a new sense of urgency” to peace negotiations.

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Margrethe Loj, head of the UN mission addresses reporters in Juba, December 11, 2014 (ST)

Loej was speaking at a press conference at the UN Mission in South Sudan’s (UNMISS) Thongpiny compound in the capital, Juba, on Thursday.

She said the new mandate of peacekeepers focusing on protection of civilians sends a clear message to political leaders.

“The Mission will continue to undertake the monitoring and reporting on human rights violations. We recognise that accountability remains a key issue in South Sudan,” she said.

“A legacy of impunity for serious human rights violations in the past has contributed to the current crisis. This legacy must stop. And, stop now,” she added. ?

Loej took over the top UN job in South Sudan in September after being appointed in July to replace outgoing head Hilde Johnson. She said the challenges that awaited her were enormous and continue to be so.

Hundreds of thousands of civilians remain at UNMISS protection sites 12 months after fighting broke out in the capital.

She said a peaceful, secure environment must be restored to allow displaced civilians to begin returning to their homes.

?“It is also important to remember that these so-called protection-of-civilians sites on UNMISS bases were always envisioned as temporary solutions to protect civilians in imminent danger of physical violence. It was not and is not supposed to become permanent settlements,” she said.

However she stressed that UNMISS would not be force civilians to leave the sites and that repatriation was strictly “voluntarily”.

“We should never forget that the ultimate responsibility for protection of civilians remains with the government, including its national security forces, the SPLA (national army) and the South Sudan National Police Service,” she said.

Civilians reportedly began fleeing to UNMISS bases after witnessing the killing of their relatives by members of the country’s security forces.

Human Rights groups said both parties to the South Sudanese conflict have committed gross human rights violations that may constitute war crimes.

Loej said UNMISS will continue to monitor and report on violations.

“We recognise that accountability remains a key issue in South Sudan. A legacy of impunity for serious human rights violations in the past has contributed to the current crisis,” said Loej.??

Peace talks between the government of president Salva Kiir and rebels led by his former deputy Riek Machar are slated to resume next week after being postponed for consultation meetings by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which is mediating talks.

Loej has urged both parties to put the interests of their citizens above their own.

“Both parties at the IGAD-sponsored peace talks will return to the negotiating table with a heightened sense of responsibility and openness to compromise, and hopefully that can bring the talks to a swift and successful conclusion,” she said.

“The patience of the international community with both parties is wearing thin, and their leaders must inject a new sense of urgency into the peace process in order to reach a comprehensive peace agreement as soon as possible,” she added.

(ST)

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  • 12 December 2014 10:01, by dinkdong

    The UN and UNMISS in particular is a joke. It is like a barking dog which has been tied down and it is not able to do a thing.

    repondre message

    • 12 December 2014 10:31, by Johndumo14

      The Nile River is a lifeline to some 80% of Egyptians .
      why Egyptians depends on nile Water??
      How many countries in North Africa not depends on nile Water? Why Egyptians? Egyptians must shut their mouth and if they need more Water they can take Water from red sea or take from the indian ocean,the new technology ,you can take Water from the oceans,Egyptians caled themselves arabs not africans.

      repondre message

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