November 19, 2016 (JUBA) – The United Nations Security Council has called for urgent steps to address the increasing hate speech and ethnic violence in South Sudan, advocating for promotion of reconciliation among the people, mainly through justice and accountability process.
- Thousands of civilians fleeing violence seek shelter at a UN compound in Jonglei state capital, Bor (Photo: UNMISS/Hailemichael Gebrekrstos)
The call came in the wake of the ethnically targeted killings, hate speech, and incitements of violence in South Sudan.
The Security Council, in a statement, expressed “deep alarm” over the escalation of ethnic violence, reportedly carried out by South Sudan army, the armed opposition forces, as well as militias, and unidentified armed groups.
They called for an inclusive political process, based on the framework provided by the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan, which allows for all voices to participate in shaping the future of the country.
The Council further called on the parties to immediately agree on implementation of an effective cessation of hostilities in order to avoid escalation of the conflict in the upcoming dry season and reiterated that there is no military solution to the conflict.
Renewed violence in the young nation has resulted into the displacement of thousands of people, with aid agencies warning of the dire humanitarian conditions.
The Council, however, expressed its readiness to consider taking additional measures in order to prevent a further escalation of violence and conflict, including potential sanctions it considers appropriate to respond to situations.
The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has warned of the “risk of mass atrocities" in South Sudan, should renewed violence in the world’s youngest nation continue.
In a report released Wednesday, Ki-moon said the UN peacekeepers must be prepared to protect innocent civilians.
"There is a very real risk of mass atrocities being committed in South Sudan, particularly following the sharp rise in hate speech and ethnic incitement in recent weeks," said Ki-moon.
"It must be clearly understood that United Nations peacekeeping operations do not have the appropriate manpower or capabilities to stop mass atrocities," he added.
The UN recently approved the deployment of regional protection forces in the aftermath of renewed violence that broke out in the country in July between South Sudan’s two main rival factions.
An estimated 14,000 soldiers and police are deployed in the UN mission in South Sudan, but recent investigations implicated peacekeepers in the failure to protect civilians during the attack.
South Sudan descended into war in mid-December 2013, leaving tens of thousands dead and more than 2.5 million people displaced.