The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Raimonda Murmokaitė (Lithuania):
On 14 May, the members of the Security Council were briefed by Special Representative of the Secretary-General Ellen Margrethe Løj on the situation in South Sudan.
The members of the Security Council expressed condemnation at the renewed and ongoing large-scale violence in Unity State caused by the recent Government of South Sudan offensive and resulting in the displacement of more than 100,000 civilians and the suspension of nearly all activity and delivery of aid to populations in the affected areas, over 300,000 civilians, by humanitarian agencies and organizations. The members of the Security Council further expressed their condemnation of the large-scale attack initiated on 15 May by the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) (in opposition) on the town of Malakal, in Upper Nile State.
The members of the Security Council underlined their grave concern that, as a result of violence and increased insecurity since the beginning of the conflict, more than 50,000 internally displaced persons have sought shelter and assistance at the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) camp in Bentiu, and an additional nearly 25,000 at the UNMISS camp in Malakal, only further magnifying a dire humanitarian crisis.
The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the repeated violations of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement accepted and signed by the Republic of South Sudan and the SPLM/A (in opposition) on 23 January 2014, and underscored that there is no military solution to this conflict that has now lasted more than 17 months.
The members of the Security Council called upon all parties to engage meaningfully in the peace process so as to bring about a political solution to the crisis and an end to the conflict. They acknowledged the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) led peace process and urged renewed regional and international efforts to swiftly implement a common plan and to table a reasonable and comprehensive solution to end the crisis in South Sudan. In this context, they reiterated their willingness to impose sanctions against those who threaten the peace, security or stability of South Sudan as established in resolution 2206 (2015), and noted the 24 March 2015 African Union Peace and Security Council communiqué on South Sudan and the 12 May 2015 African Union Commission Chairperson’s statement on South Sudan in this regard.
The members of the Security Council reiterated their full support for UNMISS peacekeepers and for the vital mandate they are performing under very difficult conditions, including to protect civilians in South Sudan. They demanded that all parties end intimidation and harassment against UNMISS and humanitarian personnel, cease ongoing restrictions on freedom of movement and allow UNMISS to fully implement its mandate. They further demanded full adherence to the Status of Forces Agreement and permission for the deployment of essential assets and enablers currently being blocked by the Government of South Sudan. The members of the Security Council underscored the importance of close cooperation and communication between UNMISS and the Government in addressing these issues.
The members of the Security Council condemned, and reiterated their demand for an immediate end to, all human rights violations and abuses and violations of international humanitarian law. They reiterated that those responsible for violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights must be held accountable and that the Government of South Sudan bears the primary responsibility to protect civilians within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction, including from potential crimes against humanity and war crimes.
The Security Council renewed its calls for the parties to the conflict to allow and facilitate the full, safe and unhindered access of humanitarian personnel, equipment and supplies to all those in need and timely delivery of humanitarian assistance in accordance with relevant provisions of international law and United Nations guiding principles of humanitarian assistance.