Marking the one-year anniversary of the outbreak of conflict in South Sudan, which has killed tens of thousands, the Security Council today demanded that the clashing leaders in the young country fully implement agreements to end the hostilities, and reiterated its intention to consider measures against those impeding the peace process.
Council members “place full responsibility for the tragic events with South Sudan’s leaders, those in Government as well as with the opposition, and look to President Salva Kiir Mayardit and former Vice President Riek Machar Teny to make the necessary compromises for peace,” the Council said through a statement presented by Mahamat Zene Cherif of Chad, which holds the body’s rotating presidency for December.
The Council urgently demanded that those leaders and all parties refrain from further violence, implement the agreement signed on 9 May 2014 by the Government and the opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPML/A), engage fully and inclusively in ongoing peace talks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and uphold the commitment to establish a transitional government of national unity.
The Council reiterated its intention to commence negotiations, in consultation with the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD), the African Union and other partners, on targeted sanctions and other appropriate measures against those who impeded peace.
Through the text, the Council also demanded that the parties allow and facilitate safe and unhindered access of relief personnel, equipment and supplies to all those in need. Stressing the need to ensure accountability for serious violations of human rights and humanitarian law in the country, it underscored its strong condemnation of actions that had caused the deaths and the displacement of nearly 2 million people, as well as the injury and deaths of peacekeepers and humanitarian personnel.
The meeting opened at 3:07 p.m. and closed at 3:09 p.m.
The full text of the presidential statement to be issued as document S/PRST/2014/26 reads as follows:
“The Security Council recalls the great hope and optimism felt by the South Sudanese people at the establishment of the Republic of South Sudan in July 2011 and the prospect of the end of decades of civil war. On the one-year mark of the outbreak of the current conflict it expresses its profound disappointment that their aspirations have not been met, and that instead their leaders’ actions have led to yet more fighting and division.
“The Security Council recalls with deep alarm the escalation of the internal Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) political dispute that erupted into conflict on 15 December 2013 and the subsequent violence caused by the country’s political and military leaders that has plunged this young nation into a man-made political, security and humanitarian catastrophe over this past year.
“The Security Council underscores its strong condemnation of the serious human rights violations and abuses that have caused the death of tens of thousands of civilians, the displacement of nearly 2 million people in just 12 months, and the attacks upon, and deaths of, UN peacekeepers and humanitarian personnel. In this regard, they place full responsibility for these tragic events with South Sudan’s leaders, those in government as well as with the opposition, and look to President Salva Kiir Mayardit and former Vice President Riek Machar Teny to make the necessary compromises for peace.
“The Security Council commends the work of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in leading the mediation since the onset of the crisis, the initiatives by the African Union, including to establish a mechanism for seeking accountability and reconciliation through its Commission of Inquiry, the overwhelming humanitarian assistance offered by the international community to help mitigate the consequences of the conflict, including staving off famine in 2014, and the hosting by South Sudan’s neighbours of nearly 500,000 refugees from South Sudan.
“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 to protect tens of thousands of civilians under threat of physical violence and to stabilize the security situation, and pays tribute to those peacekeepers who have tragically been killed in this endeavour, and expresses condolences to their families.
“The Security Council expresses its grave concern that given the continued disregard of the 23 January 2014 Cessation of Hostilities Agreement and the 9 May 2014 Agreement to Resolve the Crisis in South Sudan, and the absence of the establishment and implementation of a credible peace agreement, the risks of famine, State failure and regionalization of the conflict persist.
“In this regard, the Security Council urgently demands that President Salva Kiir Mayardit, former Vice President Riek Machar Teny and all parties refrain from further violence, implement the Agreement to Resolve the Crisis in South Sudan signed on 9 May 2014 by the Republic of South Sudan and the SPLM/A (in Opposition), engage fully and inclusively in ongoing peace talks in Addis Ababa, uphold their commitment to establish a transitional government of national unity, and 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 relief personnel, equipment and supplies to all those in need and timely delivery of humanitarian assistance.
“The Security Council reiterates its intention to commence consideration, in consultation with relevant partners, including the IGAD and African Union, on all appropriate measures, including targeted sanctions, against those impeding the peace process. The Security Council underscores the significant importance of fighting impunity and ensuring accountability for serious violations and abuses of human rights and serious violations of international humanitarian law in South Sudan, and of continued delivery of life-saving and other humanitarian assistance to the South Sudanese people.”