Having determining that the situation faced by South Sudan continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security in the region and acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, the Security Council by its resolution 1996 (2011) of 8 July 2011 established the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) for an initial period of one year as from 9 July 2011 with the intention to renew for further periods as may be required.
According to the original mandate UNMISS was to support the Government in peace consolidation and thereby fostering longer-term state building and economic development; assist the Government in exercising its responsibilities for conflict prevention, mitigation, and resolution and protect civilians; and help the authorities in developing capacity to provide security, establishing the rule of law, and strengthening the security and justice sectors in the country. The initial authorized strength of the Mission stood at up to 7,000 military personnel, including military liaison officers and staff officers, up to 900 civilian police personnel, including as appropriate formed units, and an appropriate civilian component, including technical human rights investigation expertise.
Following the political and security crisis, which broke out with violence in South Sudan’s capital Juba on 15 December 2013, the Security Council, by its resolution 2132 (2013) of 24 December, approved Secretary-General’s recommendation to temporarily increase the overall troop and police strength of UNMISS. The interim troop level was raised to 12,500 personnel and the police component to 1,323 personnel, including appropriate formed police units, through temporary transfers from existing peacekeeping operations through inter-mission cooperation.
In March 2014, the Secretary-General further recommended that the Security Council should keep these increased troops and police levels for at least another 12 months, and temporarily shift Mission’s focus from mainly peacebuilding activities to: protecting civilians; facilitating humanitarian assistance; monitoring and reporting on human rights; preventing further inter-communal violence; and supporting the IGAD process as and when requested, and within available capabilities. The protection priority would be for displaced people sheltering in United Nations compounds and other locations, and would expand once conditions were created for their safe return home, he said, adding that the new posture of UNMISS would be in place until the two sides to the conflict finalized a political agreement.