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NEW YORK - 1 Mar 2021

UN boss: Reconstitute legislature, implement security arrangements

Photo: UNMISS chief David Shearer
Photo: UNMISS chief David Shearer

The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) David Shearer has underscored the importance of finalizing the establishment of government institutions per the peace agreement.

Shearer, while presenting a report on the political, security, humanitarian, and progress towards the implementation of the UNMISS mission, to the United Nations Security Council last week said significant progress had been made, but there was a need to accelerate the implementation of pending issues.

According to the agreement, the parties are expected to unify and deploy armed forces, reconstitute the national legislature and council of states, and finalize the constitution paving the way for elections. 

Shearer, who is also the head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) reminded the parties to adhere to the 35 percent affirmative action for women in the establishment of institutions.

“I remain concerned at the lack of momentum in meeting key benchmarks of the peace agreement, in particular the establishment of a reconstituted legislative assembly and transitional security arrangements. Priority must be given to finalizing the overall security strategy to provide a comprehensive and coherent framework for decision-making," he said. "While I welcome the stated commitment by the Government to unify armed forces and to graduate soldiers, those troops currently remain in cantonment sites and face dire living conditions. Until they are deployed, resources have to be made available to ensure that they have access to adequate shelter, health care, food, and water.” 

Acknowledging that the ceasefire continues to hold, the UN boss raised concerns about increasing violence in different parts of the country.

“I am concerned about increasing subnational violence in several parts of the country. Cattle migration, flooding, and a volatile economy owing to the Covid-19 pandemic are driving the conflict, but political actors at the national level also play a role,” he added.

The SRSG said the continued violence has become a breeding ground for human rights violations such as conflict-related sexual violence, curtailed freedom of speech, and the destruction of civilian and public property. 

According to him, the violence makes an already bad situation worse as it causes a massive displacement worsening an already struggling humanitarian situation.

“I call upon the international community to close the humanitarian funding gap so that much-needed assistance can be delivered to the more than 1.6 million internally displaced persons in South Sudan,” he appealed.

Shearer further called on the government to provide full protection for its citizens in former UN Protection of Civilian Sites, noting that although a restriction on the movement of UNMISS forces had declined, he urges the government to ensure that UNMISS can carry out its missions without impediment. 

“I remain deeply troubled by reports of threats and violence against humanitarian workers and call for unhindered and safe access to all United Nations operations to ensure essential support and protection for those in need,” says the UN’s top envoy in the country.

Shearer further reiterated its support in the path towards peace and stability in South Sudan.