The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Koro Bessho (Japan):
The members of the Security Council expressed deep alarm at the fighting in Wau, South Sudan, which broke out on 24 June and has resulted in the displacement of an estimated 70,000 people, including 12,000 sheltering near the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) base in Wau.
The members of the Security Council called on all armed actors immediately to cease hostilities and allow UNMISS and humanitarian access to civilians in need, including a school where 9,000 civilians are reportedly sheltering. The members of the Security Council acknowledged the formation of the investigation committee by the Transitional Government of National Unity and urged the Transitional Government of National Unity to quickly investigate the attack and hold those responsible to account.
The members of the Security Council expressed deep concern over the ongoing violence throughout the country and demanded that the parties to the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan expedite implementation of all aspects of the Agreement as a means to restoring peace in South Sudan.
The members of the Security Council reiterated that attacks against civilians may constitute war crimes and those involved could be potentially subject to sanctions as authorized under resolution 2206 (2015) for actions that threaten the peace, security or stability of South Sudan.
The members of the Security Council expressed appreciation for UNMISS’s efforts to carry out its protection of civilians mandate. While the members of the Security Council underscored the importance of the role of UNMISS in the protection of civilians, the primary responsibility for protection of civilians in South Sudan remains with the Transitional Government of National Unity.