New York

25 September 2014

Secretary-General's remarks at High-Level Meeting on Hope for South Sudan

Nine months ago, conflict started in South Sudan. Tens of thousands have been killed. Nearly two million people have fled their homes. Nearly half a million have crossed borders into neighbouring countries.

I saw the conditions first-hand when I visited in May. I was appalled by the humanitarian situation. Almost a hundred thousand people are sheltering at United Nations peacekeeping bases. Without the UN’s protection, thousands would probably have died.

Outside UN bases, hundreds of thousands of displaced people live in insecurity and lack the basics to survive. Humanitarian agencies face enormous problems in reaching them.

Around four million people – more than a third of the entire country – suffer alarming food insecurity. Unless we act quickly, some 50,000 children could die before the end of this year.

South Sudan has fertile land and valuable reserves of oil. It has a potentially vibrant economy.

But instead of thriving, the country is failing. 

The dire humanitarian situation is primarily man made. I have told the parties there is no military solution to the conflict.  The international community must remain committed to impose punitive measures on those responsible for the violence and impeding the peace process.

I call today, once again, on the leadership of both sides to find an inclusive and mutually agreed power sharing arrangement to start a transitional phase of governance.

An agreement leaving key stake holders outside the transition will not bring sustainable peace. It cannot be imposed.

A peace agreement will also have to address convincingly the causes of the conflict, in particular, transparency and accountability in the management of oil resources – which must be used to improve the welfare of the majority and not to benefit a minority.

Those responsible for atrocities must face justice through a mechanism that meets international standards. There can be no amnesty for anyone responsible for killing innocent civilians.

The leaders must protect civilians, allow humanitarian access and guarantee the safety of aid operations.

The international community must intensify its support for South Sudan.

I commend the troop-contributing countries. I thank all the donors. But we must do more to meet the enormous needs.

The United Nations is supporting the people of South Sudan with the biggest humanitarian operation ever undertaken in a country.

Reinforcements of 5,000 peacekeepers are being deployed. We are supporting the IGAD peace process.

I have a message for the leaders of South Sudan:

You opened the wounds that have caused so much suffering.

Now heal them.

The parties owe this to their people and future generations.

Thank you for your leadership and commitment.