Underscoring the seriousness and urgency of the situation in South Sudan, the Security Council today called on all parties to armed conflict to issue clear orders prohibiting all violations of international humanitarian law and human rights abuses without further delay.
The Council also demanded that the parties committed themselves to finding a comprehensive agreement, said François Delattre of France, which holds the March Council presidency, reading out a presidential statement on behalf of the 15-member body.
Reiterating its strong condemnation of the repeated violations of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement signed by South Sudan and the opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A), the Council emphasized that the actions of President Salva Kiir and former Vice-President Riek Machar in pursuing a military solution to the conflict constituted a breach of their obligations.
As demonstrated in the Council’s unanimous adoption of resolution 2206 (2015), establishing a United Nations sanctions regime for those undermining the peace, security or stability of South Sudan, the Council reiterated its intent to impose any appropriate sanctions to respond to the current situation. That may include an arms embargo and the designation of senior individuals responsible for actions that threatened peace, security or stability so as to encourage the Government of South Sudan and opposition forces to form a transitional government.
The Council also commended the work of the Intergovernmental Authority for Development, as supported by the United Nations and the African Union, for its work in establishing a forum for political and security dialogue and for operationalizing a monitoring and evaluation mechanism for the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement.
Addressing the Council, Francis Mading Deng, Permanent Representative of South Sudan, thanked the body for its attention to the situation in his country. However, he said his delegation was disappointed that the Council had continued deliberating on important events without extensive consultations with the African region. He further noted that South Sudan’s views were also hardly ever reflected in Council documents.
For its part, his Government was committed to a peaceful solution to conflict and had been engaged in talks, including on establishing a transitional government. However, the SPLM had continued to shift positions and put forth unreasonable demands, making it extremely difficult to reach consensus on contentious national issues, he continued, noting that the group demanded two armies during the interim period, the position of first vice-president and half of the new Government. As his Government had not seen any justification for those demands, he said it was incorrect for the Council, in its presidential statement, to express disappointment that President Kiir had “failed to conclude an agreement on the transitional arrangements”.
Turning to sanctions, he said those measures rarely achieved their intended objective and tended to only harden positions towards a confrontation. The international community could use more constructive and productive means of engaging parties than sanctions, he concluded, adding that imposing sanctions at such a critical juncture of South Sudan’s history would “devastate” the economy and increase economic pressures on people who were already suffering and were desperate.
The meeting began at 4:05 p.m. and ended at 4:20 p.m.
The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2015/9 reads as follows:
“The Security Council underscores the seriousness and urgency of the situation in South Sudan, as demonstrated by its 3 March 2015 unanimous adoption of United Nations Security Council resolution 2206 (2015) establishing a United Nations sanctions regime for those undermining the peace, security or stability of South Sudan, with initial dates for the Council’s review of 5 March 2015 and 1 April 2015, and demanding that the parties commit to finding a comprehensive agreement and calling upon all parties to armed conflict in South Sudan to issue clear orders prohibiting all violations of international humanitarian law and human rights violations and abuses without further delay.
“In this regard, the Security Council expresses its profound disappointment that President Salva Kiir, former Vice President Riek Machar and all parties have failed to conclude an agreement on the transitional arrangements outlined in the 1 February 2015 Areas of Agreement on the Establishment of the Transitional Government of National Unity in the Republic of South Sudan signed by the Republic of South Sudan and the SPLM/A (in Opposition) by the 5 March 2015 deadline set by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). In this context the Security Council reiterates its willingness to impose sanctions against those who threaten the peace, security or stability of South Sudan.
“The Security Council reiterates its strong condemnation of the repeated violations of the Cessation of Hostilities (CoH) Agreement accepted and signed by the Republic of South Sudan and the SPLM/A (in Opposition) on 23 January 2014, and emphasizes that the actions of President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar in continuing to pursue a military solution to this conflict are in breach of their obligations under the CoH Agreement.
“The Security Council commends IGAD, as supported by the United Nations and African Union, for its relentless work in establishing a forum for political and security dialogue, establishing and operationalizing the Monitoring and Verification Mechanism for the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement, and leading multi-stakeholder political negotiations to establish a Transitional Government of National Unity.
“The Security Council takes note of the 6 March 2015 message from Ethiopia’s Prime Minister and Chairman of IGAD Hailemariam Dessalegn to the people of South Sudan explaining that the peace talks did not produce the necessary breakthrough.
“The Security Council welcomes IGAD’s intention, joined by the friends of South Sudan from Africa and abroad, including the United Nations, to implement a common plan and to table a reasonable and comprehensive solution to end the crisis in South Sudan and urges all parties to engage meaningfully in the peace process so to bring about a political resolution of the crisis and an end to the violence.
“The Security Council reiterates its intent to impose any sanctions that may be appropriate to respond to the situation, which may include an arms embargo and the designation of senior individuals responsible for actions or policies that threaten the peace, security or stability of South Sudan, so as to encourage the Government of South Sudan and opposition forces to form a Transitional Government of National Unity, take effective and comprehensive steps to cause forces under direct or indirect control to cease military operations, acts of violence, as well as violations of human rights, and enable full access for humanitarian assistance.
“The Security Council renews its deep appreciation for the courageous actions taken and ongoing by United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) personnel and troop- and police-contributing countries for the protection of civilians and the stabilization of the security situation, and reiterates its support to UNMISS.
“The Security Council reaffirms its deep concern that the conflict has resulted in great human suffering, including significant loss of life, displacement of 2 million people, and the loss of property, further impoverishing and disadvantaging the people of South Sudan.
“The Security Council further underscores the significant importance of fighting impunity and ensuring accountability for serious violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law in South Sudan including those that may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.
“The Security Council renews its calls for parties to the conflict to allow and facilitate, in accordance with relevant provisions of international law and United Nations guiding principles of humanitarian assistance, the full, safe and unhindered access of humanitarian personnel, equipment and supplies to all those in need and timely delivery of humanitarian assistance.
“The Security Council recognizes the work of the African Union Commission of Inquiry in investigating and documenting violations as well as abuses of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, anticipates with interest its findings and recommendations, encourages the public release of the final report as soon as possible, and welcomes the further engagement of the African Union to ensure justice and accountability, as well as healing and reconciliation.
“The Security Council looks forward to the rapid establishment of the ‘Panel of Experts’ which will play a central role in assisting the South Sudan Sanctions Committee, established in resolution 2206 (2015), including by providing it with information relevant to the potential designation of individuals and entities who may be engaging in the activities described in paragraphs 6 and 7 of resolution 2206 (2015).
“The Security Council reaffirms that it shall be prepared to adjust the measures contained in resolution 2206 (2015), including by strengthening through additional measures, as well as modification, suspension or lifting of the measures, as may be needed at any time in light of the progress achieved in the peace, accountability, and reconciliation process, and in light of the implementation of the parties’ commitments, including the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement and other obligations specified in the preamble of said resolution, and compliance with it.
“The Security Council further reaffirms its support for the people of South Sudan, renews its steadfast commitment to the peace and security of South Sudan and the region, including through its full implementation of United Nations Security Council resolution 2206 (2015), and echoes the IGAD Chairman’s 6 March 2015 statement that the world stands with the people and peace will be achieved.”