December 16, 2016 (NEW YORK) – The United Nations Security Council (UNSC), while approving a one-year extension of its mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), demanded an end to the fighting in the country, and decided that the mission shall “use all necessary means” to deter and prevent sexual violence within its capacity.
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The mission will, in accordance to the new mandate, also “monitor, investigate and report incidents of hate speech,” in the country.
The 15-member Security Council unanimously adopted on Friday a resolution, extending the mandate of UNMISS to 15 December 2017.
Over the next one year, however, the UN mission in South Sudan will maintain its core functions, while also maintaining a troop ceiling of 17,000, including a 4,000-strong Regional Protection Force (RPF), and increasing the police ceiling to 2,101 police personnel, and 78 corrections officers, and requesting the Secretary-General to take the necessary steps to expedite force and asset generation.
South Sudan has been in turmoil since December 2013 when forces loyal to President Salva Kiir clashed with those allied to his former deputy, Riek Machar displacing thousands of the nation’s population.
The crisis, according to the world body, has produced one of the world’s worst displacement situations with immense suffering for civilians.
However, despite the August 2015 peace agreement that formally ended the South Sudanese civil war, conflict and instability have also spread to previously unaffected areas in the Greater Equatoria and Greater Bahr-El-Ghazal regions of South Sudan.
The Security Council, during its meeting, reiterated its increasingly grave alarm and concern regarding the political, security, economic and humanitarian crisis in South Sudan resulting from a political dispute within South Sudan’s ruling party (SPLM) and subsequent violence caused by the nation’s political and military leaders.
It also expressed its intention to consider sanctions against those whose actions undermined peace, stability and security in South Sudan.
The Security Council demanded that South Sudan’s leaders implement the permanent ceasefire declared in the peace agreement and respective ceasefires, but also expressed grave concern at the findings of the UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Hawa Bangura of the systematic and widespread use of sexual violence as a tactic by parties against the civilian population, particularly against the country’s women and girls.
As such, the 15-member Council also resolved that UNMISS would “use all necessary means” to deter and prevent sexual and gender-based violence within its capacity and areas of deployment, and “monitor, investigate, verify and report specifically and publicly on violations and abuses committed against children and women.”
The Council tasked UNMISS with monitoring, investigating and reporting on incidents of hate speech and incitement to violence in cooperation with the UN special adviser.