|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Security Council Press Statement on Cessation
of Hostilies Agreement In South Sudan
The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Zeid Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein ( Jordan):
On 23 January, members of the Security Council were briefed by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Hilde Johnson (via video-conference from Juba), and Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonović on the situation in South Sudan.
The members of the Security Council welcomed the signing today of a cessation of hostilities agreement between the parties, and called on all parties to immediately and fully implement this agreement as the first step in a longer process of ensuring durable peace and rule of law in South Sudan and addressing the underlying causes of the conflict through an inclusive and comprehensive political dialogue, national reconciliation, and building effective State institutions. The members of the Security Council applauded the tireless efforts by the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) to achieve this cessation of hostilities agreement between the parties, and further welcomed efforts by IGAD and its partners to expedite the release of the detainees and ensure their meaningful participation in an inclusive political dialogue. The members of the Security Council reiterated their strong support for the mediation efforts led by IGAD as they pursue a durable settlement to the crisis in South Sudan. They also welcomed the 20 January visit to Juba by the Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, and AU efforts to find a lasting solution to the ongoing crisis in South Sudan and its underlying causes.
The members of the Security Council reiterated their unwavering support for UNMISS [United Nations Mission in South] and its vital mission on behalf of the international community to protect civilians in South Sudan, including foreign nationals, conduct human rights monitoring and investigations, and facilitate humanitarian assistance. They expressed their appreciation for UNMISS personnel, who put their own lives at risk daily pursuing this mandate, and for the 67 troop- and police-contributing countries whose forces continue to perform admirably under difficult circumstances. The members of the Security Council recalled that in 2011, the Security Council established UNMISS under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter and has mandated UNMISS to perform these critical duties.
The members of the Security Council noted that as a result of this conflict, there are currently 494,000 internally displaced persons across South Sudan in need of humanitarian assistance; including 73,000 civilians seeking refuge and protection on UNMISS bases. They also commended UNMISS for expanding its peacekeeping patrols to further extend protection to civilians in South Sudan.
The members of the Council condemned in the strongest terms all actions by Government and opposition forces that obstruct or impede UNMISS and threaten its personnel and stressed such actions must cease. They renewed their demand that all parties cooperate fully with UNMISS and respect the inviolability of UNMISS protection sites. They stressed that armed threats and attacks on United Nations personnel and facilities are unacceptable and constitute a violation of international law. They condemned violations of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), including the attempt by Sudan People’s Liberation Army forces and senior South Sudanese Government officials to forcibly enter the UNMISS compound in Bor on January 19.
The members of the Security Council strongly condemned the targeted and indiscriminate killings, widespread sexual and gender-based violence, recruitment and use of children in violation of applicable international law, and arbitrary detention, some of which may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, and underscored that those responsible for human rights violations and abuses must be held accountable. They affirmed that independent and public monitoring, investigation and reporting is vital to accountability efforts, and can help lay the groundwork for justice, accountability, reconciliation and healing among all South Sudanese communities. To that end, the members of the Security Council welcomed the decision of the African Union Peace and Security Council to establish a commission to investigate the human rights violations and abuses committed during the conflict. The members of the Security Council further underlined the contributions that the international community and UNMISS will make in investigating human rights violations and other abuses committed during the conflict in South Sudan.
* *** *