No Military Solution in South Sudan, Security Council Presidential Statement Stresses, Urging Immediate End to Violence against Aid Workers

SC/12761
23 March 2017
7906th Meeting (PM)

No Military Solution in South Sudan, Security Council Presidential Statement Stresses, Urging Immediate End to Violence against Aid Workers

Permanent Representative Rejects Allegations of Sexual Abuse by Government Forces, Claims Sanctions Will Fuel Tensions

Expressing its deep alarm at the situation in South Sudan, the Security Council today renewed its condemnation of fighting in that country, stressing that there was no military solution to the conflict.

In a statement read out by its President for March, the Council condemned reported human rights violations and abuses in South Sudan, expressing deep alarm at the reports of gender-based violence and recruitment of child soldiers.  Reiterating its call on all parties to immediately adhere to the ceasefire as called for in the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict, it condemned any restrictions and attacks on humanitarian personnel and their facilities.

The Council also underscored the pressing need for accountability for any human rights violations, noting that a political solution which included the voices of women was essential.  It called on all parties to the conflict to fully cooperate to advance peace.

Expressing concern at the failure of the parties to fully adhere to their commitments to implement the Agreement, the Council called for unconditional support of all efforts by the United Nations, African Union and Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD), and the immediate removal of obstacles to United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).  It expressed its intent to review progress no later than 30 April.

In his briefing, Secretary-General António Guterres warned the Council not to underestimate the dangers of South Sudan’s trajectory and to act with one voice to pull the world’s youngest country “back from the abyss”.  All optimism that had accompanied South Sudan’s birth some six years ago had been shattered by internal divisions and irresponsible behaviour by some leaders.

“A country that had seen a brief glimmer of hope for a better future has plunged back into darkness,” he said.  “We have to do everything in our power to change this.”  Fighting had internally displaced some 1.9 million people, while 1 million were on the verge of famine and at least 7.5 million — the majority of the country — depended on assistance.  Despite such suffering, the Government continued to impede aid deliveries.

While welcoming the President’s intention to hold a national dialogue, he said it was not convincing in the context of ongoing hostilities, the absence of consultation with key stakeholders and the systematic curtailment of basic political freedoms.  “For every child who dies, for every woman or girl raped with impunity, for every young boy conscripted into fighting and fed only hatred, there is an angry parent, husband or father plunged into sorrow and prone to seek revenge,” he said.

He urged leaders to do more to demonstrate commitment to people’s well-being, calling on the region and the Council to speak with one voice in placing pressure on the Government.   He also supported a focus on an immediate ceasefire, restoring the peace process and ensuring unrestricted humanitarian access.

Festus Mogae, Chairman of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission for South Sudan, said that, whether by design or default, a war was being waged around the country.  “This insecurity and armed violence is a direct result of the perception and reality of political exclusion from the peace process,” he stressed.  Only when all South Sudanese acknowledged that their interests were addressed could peace return.

Betty Sunday, Coordinator for the Women’s Forum on Peace and Political Processes in South Sudan, said the security threats for South Sudanese women were extreme, citing incidents of rape and other forms of violence.  The peace agreement could not be allowed to die, as it contained provisions for women to take up their role in determining a peaceful future.

In the ensuing discussion, South Sudan’s representative stressed that his Government had taken practical steps to reach a lasting peace by including stakeholders in the political process.  Having cooperated with the United Nations, the region and wider international community, the Government had expected its effort to be acknowledged “rather than the negative reporting”.

He rejected claims of genocide as baseless, adding that South Sudan was a diverse nation with many different people living in peace.  The conflict was political and had no ethnic dimension.  He rebuked the notion that Government forces had targeted civilians or used sexual violence as a war tactic, stressing that the Government was protecting itself as all nations did.  Armed groups, formed with the sole purpose of undermining the Government, were opportunistic and criminal.  He rejected claims that the Government was responsible for the famine, emphasizing that sanctions and an arms embargo would only exacerbate tensions.

Council members expressed concern over the widening famine, condemned the fighting and called for an immediate cessation of hostilities.  Several expressed support for the President’s national dialogue and the establishment of a hybrid court to hold accountable those who had committed or ordered atrocity crimes.  Senegal’s delegate urged South Sudan to support efforts to establish the court, while the State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia pressed the Government to conduct the national dialogue in an all-inclusive manner.

Some speakers expressed concern that the international community had done too little to support the world’s youngest country, with Egypt’s Foreign Minister stressing that international responsibility did not end with the declaration of South Sudan’s independence.  Support was sometimes more important during a nation’s transition, he said, cautioning that sanctions-based approaches could lead to a power vacuum.

Others speakers expressed support for an arms embargo, including France’s delegate, who said such a measure would foster an environment conducive to peace.  The representative of the United States echoed that sentiment, stressing that the famine had not resulted from drought, but rather, from leaders more interested in political power and stopping aid.  Such actions might amount to deliberate starvation tactics.

Also speaking today were the representatives of the United Kingdom, Sweden, Italy, Kazakhstan, Bolivia, Russian Federation, Ukraine, Japan, Uruguay and China.

The meeting began at 3:10 p.m. and ended at 5:30 p.m.

Briefings

ANTONIO GUTERRES, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said the conflict in South Sudan continued to generate profound suffering.  The Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and the opposition were conducting military operations in a number of areas, with devastating consequences for civilians.  The situation was especially alarming in the Greater Upper Nile area, in the famine-affected counties of Unity State, and in previously stable areas of northern Jonglei State.  In the past three months, the Greater Equatoria region had also seen heavy high fighting, with retaliatory operations by the SPLA and its allied militias against suspected rebel groups.

Moreover, civilians continued to be subjected to horrendous attacks, including rape and the recruitment of children, he said.  More than 1.9 million people had been displaced internally and 1.6 million had sought refuge in neighbouring countries.  One hundred thousand people were enduring famine, 1 million were on the verge of it, and 5.5 million might be severely food insecure by summer.  At least 7.5 million people across South Sudan — almost two thirds of the country — required humanitarian assistance.  Three years of conflict had eroded livelihoods and disrupted farming.  Expressing concern over the looting of humanitarian compounds, he said the Government continued to impede deliveries of life-saving aid, including through access denials and most recently, a hike in the price of work permits for aid workers.

Despite the alarm sounded by the international community, the Government had yet to take any steps to address the plight of its people, he said.  “On the contrary, what we hear most often are denials — a refusal by the leadership to even acknowledge the crisis or to fulfil its responsibility to end it,” he stressed.  The peace process was at a standstill.  While President Salva Kiir’s statements regarding his intention to hold a national dialogue were welcome, they were not convincing in the context of ongoing hostilities, the absence of consultation with key stakeholders, the systematic curtailment of basic political freedoms and restrictions on humanitarian access.  Having just returned from a trip to South Sudan, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations had met with the President and other officials and emphasized the importance of an inclusive political process.

He went on to emphasize that when civil society and opposition members could not speak freely, when a significant portion of the population could not participate in discussions, and when numerous communities were displaced or facing starvation, dialogue was unlikely to succeed.  The same held true for elections, which could only take place once stability had returned.  The United Nations was working with the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to resolve long-standing intercommunal disputes in South Sudan and the subregion.  However, no amount of diplomacy could substitute for the lack of political will among those who governed.  Urging South Sudanese leaders to do more to demonstrate their commitment to the well-being of the people, who were among the poorest in the world, he said the region and Security Council must speak with one voice in placing pressure on the Government.

Urging the Council to not underestimate the dangers of South Sudan’s trajectory, he recalled that atrocity crimes had occurred with impunity and that accountability was a must.  “For every child who dies, for every woman or girl raped with impunity, for every young boy conscripted into fighting and fed only hatred, there is an angry parent, husband or father plunged into sorrow and prone to seek revenge,” he declared.  To pull South Sudan back from the abyss, and from a widening famine, the international community must focus on three immediate objectives:  achieving a cessation of hostilities; restoring the peace process — which meant including the opposition, civil society and all South Sudanese; and ensuring unrestricted humanitarian access, especially freedom of movement for the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and a future regional protection force.  He urged the Security Council and the leaders of Intergovernmental Authority who would meet in Nairobi in two days, to declare support for those goals and to press the South Sudanese parties to implement them.  

“All the optimism that accompanied the birth of South Sudan has been shattered by internal divisions, rivalries and the irresponsible behaviour of some of its leaders,” he added.  As a result, a country that had seen a brief glimmer of hope for a better future had plunged back into darkness.  “We have to do everything in our power to change this.”

FESTUS MOGAE, Chairman of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission for South Sudan, said that, since the outbreak of violence last July, the security, economic and humanitarian situation in the country had deteriorated.  The Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism now reported conflicts between the main parties to the 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan.  Across the board, there was a heightened sense of alarm as the situation slipped out of control.  It was time for the international community to condemn in the strongest terms the killings, human rights abuses and destruction of homes.

Whether by design or default, a war was being waged around South Sudan, he said, stressing:  “This insecurity and armed violence is a direct result of the perception and reality of political exclusion from the peace process.”  Only when all people and communities of South Sudan acknowledged that their interests and concerns were addressed, could peace return.  There could never be a military solution in South Sudan.  To find a durable political solution, leaders must be willing to listen, accommodate and compromise.  In the interim, the international community must seek practical measures to alleviate the suffering of millions of people.

Moreover, he said, the national dialogue must be authentic, autonomous and impartially led to deliver a reliable representation of all views and concerns.  Such a dialogue would contribute to the pursuit of the peace process in the spirit of the Agreement, which remained the only viable framework to recover the peace process.  Regarding its implementation, he said the National Constitution Amendment Committee had started slowly, but was now on course to complete the constitutional review.  The Monitoring Mechanism was investigating ceasefire violations, but was regularly denied the freedom of movement by all armed groups, he said, noting also that there had been no further progress on establishing Chapter Five mechanisms and institutions.

BETTY SUNDAY, Coordinator of the Women’s Monthly Forum on Peace and Political Processes in South Sudan, said the security threats for South Sudanese women were extreme, citing incidents of rape and other forms of violence.  The peace agreement could not be allowed to die, as it contained various provisions for women to take up their role in determining a peaceful future for the country.  Political will must be shown by all parties and the international community, including the Security Council, which she encouraged to cooperate with South Sudan with a view to finding a lasting solution to the political crisis.

Outlining steps for progress, she cited first and foremost implementation of the Agreement to resolve conflict, which offered a great opportunity for political transformation while requiring political will and good faith.  Also important was to promote and protect human rights, she said, urging the Council and the Government of South Sudan to actualize the joint communiqué.  Drawing attention to the worsening humanitarian situation, she urged that humanitarian workers and properties be protected and that more assistance be provided to support those in need.  The national dialogue must be inclusive and the ceasefire must be ensured in order to ensure the safety of all citizens.

Statements

BORIS JOHNSON, Council President for March and Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom, urged the Council to demonstrate unity and called for the renewal of the peace accord.  As there could be no real dialogue as long as South Sudan remained ravaged by conflict, the President must take the first step and others must follow.  A concerted effort to revive the peace process must be made and all stakeholders, including the displaced, youth, women and the opposition, must all have a voice.  For its part, the Security Council must demonstrate wholehearted support for peace efforts, while the perpetrators of atrocities must be brought to justice, he said, stressing that aid must be allowed to reach those in need.

Moreover, it was vital to spell out with unity and clarity exactly what was expected of the Government, he said, adding that an arms embargo could help protect ordinary South Sudanese.  The United Kingdom had been a witness to the peace accord and was now the second-largest bilateral donor to the world’s youngest country.  Expressing concern that some 200,000 people were sheltering in United Nations compounds, he commended UNMISS for protecting them.  British peacekeepers were doing their part, but South Sudan should not have to rely on others to protect their own people.  Neighbouring countries were already host to some 1.4 million people.  A terrible failure of political leadership was at the heart of the crisis, he said, urging the Council, the African Union and IGAD to outline a vision that they could implement.

SAMEH HASSAN SHOKRY SELIM, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Egypt, said the world had witnessed South Sudan’s declaration of independence on 9 July 2011, a crystallization of its people’s hopes and dreams.  Yet, division had led some parties to completely discard those aspirations.  The international responsibility did not end with the declaration of South Sudan’s independence.  International support was sometimes more important during a nation’s transition, he said, commending neighbouring countries for shouldering so much humanitarian responsibility.  Efforts to resolve the crisis must be based on the 2015 peace agreement which included all necessary elements, including for a diplomatic transition of power.  The President’s intended national dialogue could be used as an alternative forum to secure talks without marginalizing any groups.

He said Egypt stood ready to provide any assistance to alleviate suffering, underscoring the moral obligation for all parties to end the violence, resume and uphold the Government’s responsibility to the people and allow humanitarian access.  Egypt had intensified efforts to help end the conflict, he said, also emphasizing the critical role of the United Nations, African Union and IGAD.  No political solution would succeed unless it also strengthened the concept of citizenship and transcended tribalism.  Sanctions based approaches had not been useful, he added, stressing that the region had shown that vacuums were often filled by armed groups that were difficult to control.

MARGOT WALLSTRÖM, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden, said that the hopes and dreams of the people of South Sudan had been shattered by a predominantly man-made conflict that could have been avoided.  The fighting must stop and civilians must be protected.  Primary responsibility laid with the Government and parties to the conflict, with the international community — acting through the United Nations, the African Union and IGAD — assisting in finding a political solution, she said, underlining the need for a holistic regional approach.  The Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan must remain the cornerstone of efforts, and while a national dialogue could offer a way forward, it must include representatives of all parties to the conflict and other South Sudanese stakeholders to be legitimate and effective.

Women and girls in South Sudan faced an immensely difficult situation that must be addressed without delay, she said, describing as “absolutely harrowing” the alarming number of cases and accounts of sexual and gender-based violence.  Perpetrators must be brought to justice and victims given care and compensation.  In that regard, the Hybrid Court for South Sudan would be an important measure to fight impunity, she said, adding that the unacceptable recruitment and use of children by parties to the conflict must be promptly addressed.  Paying tribute to UNMISS and the United Nations country team, she said it was unacceptable for the Mission to be hindered from fulfilling its mandate and the deployment of the Regional Protection Force delayed.  Ending the conflict in South Sudan must remain atop the international agenda.

HIRUT ZEMENE, State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, declared that “saving people’s lives through urgent international humanitarian response has become a matter of utmost priority” against the backdrop of South Sudan’s famine, intercommunal violence and deepening economic crisis.  Unhindered humanitarian access was critical, she stressed, welcoming President Kiir’s commitment to restore freedom of movement to UNMISS and humanitarian actors.  Noting that South Sudanese people had suffered far too long and their situation could only be alleviated by the cessation of all hostilities and violence, she expressed extreme concern about reports of fighting between Government and opposition forces, as well as the devastating consequences on the civilian population.

Calling for genuine and inclusive dialogue, as well as the full implementation of the 2015 Peace Agreement — a goal whose achievement the national dialogue announced by the President had the potential to facilitate — she urged the Government to conduct that initiative in an all-inclusive manner.  The continued and collective commitment of IGAD, the African Union and the United Nations was also critical, as was the support of the Security Council to those efforts.  In that regard, she reiterated her firm conviction that unity on the part of the Council would make “headway for peace” possible in South Sudan.  Noting that progress made in the deployment of the Regional Protection Force — though slow — was also critical, she expressed hope that all South Sudanese parties would rise up to tackle the enormous challenges facing their country.

VINCENZO AMENDOLA, Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy, emphasized the need for greater efforts, as the security and humanitarian situation in South Sudan was deteriorating.  He expressed regret over wide-spread human rights violations, recruitment of child soldiers and famine, as well as attacks on UNMISS personnel and facilities.  “Time is running out,” he warned, stressing that in order to stop the fight, regional and international partners must step up their efforts.

The only possible solution was the political one, he continued, describing United Nations engagement as critical to moving forward.  South Sudan must promote inclusive dialogue and all concerned parties must abstain from obstructing the peace agreement’s implementation.  For its part, Italy continued to provide humanitarian assistance to South Sudan.

YERIK ALI, Permanent Representative of Kazakhstan to the African Union, expressing support for efforts by the Transitional Government of National Unity to address the political, economic and humanitarian challenges facing South Sudan, also emphasized the importance of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission’s work to monitor and oversee implementation of the Peace Agreement.  Expressing support for an inclusive national dialogue — one in which all leaders could participate — he noted that ending the conflict by political means would necessitate closer collaboration between the Intergovernmental Authority, African Union, United Nations and other stakeholders, with the former taking the lead.  The grave famine in some regions of South Sudan also demanded urgent attention, he said, adding that its effects could be significantly alleviated if the Government cooperated positively with humanitarian actors by facilitating access and providing free movement to UNMISS.

MICHELE SISON (United States), expressing outrage over wide-spread violence, atrocities and obstruction of aid, said the situation in South Sudan had deteriorated with almost 500,000 displaced since last July.  Famine had not resulted from drought, but rather, from leaders more interested in political power and stopping aid.  Stressing that such actions might amount to deliberate starvation tactics, she said it was not the first time that the Government had implemented a “scorched Earth” approach.  The parties must end their hostilities.  Any political process must be inclusive of all South Sudanese forces and critical reforms, she said, pressing the international community to make use of all the tools at its disposal to address the crisis and pointing to an arms embargo as one such tool.  Progress on establishing a hybrid court was critical, as peace and justice could be pursued simultaneously.

FRANÇOIS DELLATRE (France) called for a cessation of hostilities, underscoring that responsibility laid with all parties, namely the SPLA and its opposition.  Condemning the violence and looting aimed at humanitarian workers and “blue helmets”, he urged the Council to stand ready to adopt sanctions against any party that deployed such tactics.  Ensuring aid delivery was critical to restoring security and stability.  Welcoming the commitment of IGAD and the African Union, with full coordination of the United Nations, he said it was essential to implement the peace agreement in a fully inclusive and impartial manner.  The establishment of an arms embargo would lessen the violence and foster an environment conducive to peace.  Stressing that women had suffered disproportionately in the conflict, which could constitute a war crime and crime against humanity, he underscored the need to hold accountable those who committed or ordered the commission of atrocity crimes.

SACHA SERGIO LLORENTTY SOLÍZ (Bolivia) said the Council must unify to support the peace process in South Sudan.  Moving forward required the cessation of hostilities, resumption of the peace process, unrestricted humanitarian access and more international support.  Such efforts would enable the holding of an inclusive national dialogue, guarantee the Agreement’s implementation and protect civilians.  It was unfortunate that human rights violations and child recruitment continued, he said, noting that amid rising insecurity, regional cooperation was necessary.

PETR ILIICHEV (Russian Federation), expressing support for the Secretary-General’s approach of “African solutions for African problems”, said IGAD played a key role in supporting South Sudan’s resolution of long-standing intercommunal disputes.  He also acknowledged efforts by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in providing humanitarian assistance.  Noting that famine had begun in a number of cities and clashes persisted, he said there were problems in command and control.  “Compliance with the peace agreement is not possible without ending the conflict,” he said, emphasizing that the Government must combat hate speech and poor discipline.

VOLODYMYR YELCHENKO (Ukraine), noting that South Sudan was on the verge of chaos, said millions of people had been displaced from their homes, with the economy in ruins, amid rampant hunger and poverty.  “It is a shame that all this is happening in the twenty-first century,” he said, adding:  “It is a disgrace that we, the international community, have let this happen.”  To avert human tragedy, it would be critical to shake up the deadly status quo and divert their energies to advancing peace.  Emphasizing that public statements of condemnation and threats of consequences would not help in the absence of action, he said the flow of arms must be cut off in order to stop the fighting, adding that perpetrators must be held accountable in order to stop attacks on civilians.  The arms embargo and additional targeted sanctions were still relevant in ensuring that South Sudan would not slide into war and chaos, he said, underlining that there was no military solution to the conflict.  An inclusive political dialogue within the framework of the 2015 Peace Agreement was the only way to restore peace and stability.

GORGUI CISS (Senegal) reiterated his concern over the worsening security situation and condemned armed incursions and threats against humanitarian personnel and United Nations staff.  It was critical to act urgently, he said, pointing out that a million people were on the brink of famine.  Only a political solution would make it possible to resolve the disastrous humanitarian situation, he added, emphasizing that the national dialogue process could lead to peace if it was inclusive, free and transparent.  He encouraged cooperation among the African Union, IGAD and the United Nations to ensure the coordination of steps in support of peace.  On the impending famine, he called upon armed groups to cease hostilities in order to facilitate humanitarian access to civilians in need.  Voicing support for the creation of a hybrid court, he urged South Sudan’s Government to support the African Union’s efforts.

KORO BESSHO (Japan) emphasized that international assistance must reach those in need to be effective, adding that safe and unhindered access was essential.  Expressing concern over the killing of aid workers, he called upon President Kiir to improve humanitarian access.  Any national dialogue must be as inclusive, transparent and free as possible.  He said Japan was thinking about providing support for grass-roots initiatives through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).  The onus was on President Kiir and the Government, he added, urging other parties to denounce violence.

ELBIO ROSSELLI (Uruguay) urged the Council to remain vigilant in undertaking steps to restore peace into South Sudan, and to cooperate with all regional organizations, as needed.

WU HAITAO (China), describing the situation in South Sudan as critical, emphasized the need for to hold an inclusive national dialogue and to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis.  Lasting peace required the cessation of hostilities and effective implementation of the peace agreement, he said, calling upon all concerned actively to promote national reconciliation.  Regional and subregional organizations, including the African Union and IGAD, had undertaken a number of mediation activities, he noted, stressing the need to strengthen cooperation among partners and to address the most pressing challenges, such as famine.

JOSEPH MOUM MAJAK NGOR MALOK (South Sudan) said his country’s Government had taken practical steps to realize lasting peace by implementing national political inclusivity.  Various political forces were represented, as per the peace agreement.  In an effort to revitalize peacebuilding, the Transitional Government of National Unity had come up with the notion of a national dialogue, starting in communities and rising to the national level, he said.  The national dialogue was a process and those not prepared to join it now could do so when they felt ready to do so.

The Government had met with UNMISS and agreed to ensure the delivery of humanitarian assistance to those in need, and to eliminate bureaucratic impediments, he said.  On Tuesday, 21 March, Herve Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, had stated that the first unit of the Regional Protection Force would be deployed in a few weeks.  Having demonstrated its cooperation with the United Nations, the region and the entire international community, the Government had expected its effort to be acknowledged “rather than the negative reporting”.  Rejecting any claims of genocide as baseless, he said South Sudan was a diverse nation with many different peoples living in peace, stressing that the conflict was political and had no ethnic dimension.

He went on to reject the notion of Government forces targeting civilians and using sexual violence as a tactic of war.  As stipulated in international law, the Government was taking steps to protect itself, as did all nations, he said, adding that while the Government stood ready to do its part, its challenge now was to deal with “peace spoilers”, he said in reference to “opportunistic and criminal” armed groups formed recently to undermine the Government.  South Sudan commended the response of the United Nations to the famine in Unity State, but rejected the accusation that its Government was responsible, he said.  Warning that sanctions and arms embargoes would further exacerbate tensions, reiterated the Government’s dedication to implementing the Peace Agreement.

Presidential Statement

The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2017/4 reads as follows:

“The Security Council expresses deep alarm at the situation in South Sudan, stresses again that there is no military solution to the conflict, and renews its condemnation of continued fighting across the country.  The Security Council reiterates its call upon all parties to immediately adhere to the permanent ceasefire as called for in the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (‘the Agreement’), reminding all parties that implementation of a ceasefire is critical for the success of any genuine, inclusive political process.

“The Security Council is deeply alarmed that famine was declared in parts of South Sudan, that many more South Sudanese face severe food insecurity, and is deeply concerned about the actions of all parties to the conflict that are perpetuating the humanitarian crisis.  In this regard, the Security Council condemns any undermining of the ceasefire and restrictions and attacks on humanitarian personnel and their facilities, as well as on the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) to the delivery of humanitarian assistance, especially to famine-affected locations and calls for an immediate cessation of such actions and immediate and unhindered access to all those in need.  The Security Council further calls for all parties to take appropriate measures to protect United Nations and foreign premises and personnel and other civilians in South Sudan.  The Security Council commends countries in the region who continue to receive and host refugees.

“The Security Council condemns reported human rights violations and abuses and violations of international humanitarian law, as applicable, and expresses deep alarm at the numerous and ongoing reports of sexual and gender-based violence and recruitment and use of children in violation of international law in South Sudan.  The Security Council underscores the pressing need for accountability for any violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law.  The Security Council calls for swift implementation of Chapter V of the Agreement, and expects all relevant parties mentioned in the Agreement to take all necessary steps towards the establishment of the Hybrid Court for South Sudan.  The Security Council also stresses that the Commission of Truth, Reconciliation and Healing, as stipulated in the Agreement, is a critical part of the peacebuilding process in South Sudan.

“The Security Council underscores its conviction that a political solution to the conflict is essential, underscores its support for regional and international efforts to find such a solution in order to advance the Agreement.  The Security Council  supports  the Joint Press Statement by the African Union (AU), Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the United Nations of 29 January 2017 which commends the work performed by the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) Chairperson Festus Mogae and encourages the AU High Representative for South Sudan Alpha Oumar Konaré to undertake active shuttle diplomacy towards ensuring the implementation of the Agreement and the inclusivity of the National Dialogue in close consultations with the JMEC Chairperson, IGAD and the UN.  The Security Council calls on all parties to fully cooperate with Presidents Konaré, Mogae, and the United Nations in their efforts to advance peace in South Sudan.

“The Security Council notes the announcement on 14 December 2016 by President Kiir of the launch of a National Dialogue process.  The Security Council notes that an immediate ceasefire by all parties is vital for any National Dialogue to be credible and recalls statements by Presidents Mogae and Konaré, that an inclusive political process must also be authentic, autonomous, and impartially led by a credible facilitator accepted by the people of South Sudan, and which supports the Agreement.  The Security Council agrees that an inclusive political process is necessary to improve and maintain the security in the country.  The Security Council emphasizes that an inclusive political process would include representatives of all the main parties to the conflict, the full and effective participation of women, as well as representatives for a wide range of stakeholders and constituencies.

“The Security Council expresses its deep concern at the failure of the parties to fully adhere to their commitments to implement the Agreement, and in this regard, the Security Council calls for the following steps to be taken:

1.  Immediate adherence to the permanent ceasefire by all forces of the parties to the conflict and all other armed groups.

2.  Urgently address the challenges faced by humanitarian personnel in the delivery of humanitarian assistance throughout South Sudan and specifically to famine-affected areas, including through meetings of the Humanitarian High-Level Oversight Committee and urgent implementation of its decisions.

3.  Unconditional support of all parties for the endeavors of the UN, AU and IGAD towards ensuring the implementation of the Agreement and the inclusivity of the National Dialogue as outlined in their 29 January 2017 statement.

4.  Immediate removal of obstacles to UNMISS and the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism (CTSAMM) operations including obstacles to the deployment of the Regional Protection Force and attacks on UNMISS and CTSAMM personnel.

5.  Immediate cessation of obstructions to and attacks on all national and international humanitarian personnel and facilities endeavoring to provide life-saving assistance throughout South Sudan.

“The Security Council expresses its intention to review progress on the steps outlined above no later than 30 April 2017.

“The Security Council expresses concern that the Government of South Sudan has not upheld all of its commitment towards implementation of the 4 September 2016 joint communiqué and renews its invitation to the Government to update the Security Council on the communiqué’s implementation.

“The Security Council stresses  that actions which threaten the peace, security or stability of South Sudan may be subject to sanctions under resolutions 2206 (2015) and 2290 (2016).

“The Security Council reaffirms its unwavering support for the people of South Sudan.”

For information media. Not an official record.