Statement by Ambassador Jonathan Allen, UK Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, at the Security Council Briefing on South Sudan
Tuesday, 18 December
- Thank you, Mr President.
- Five years ago, fighting broke out in South Sudan. In these five years, nearly 400,000 people have been killed. Lives have been lost and futures have ended. In 2018, we have seen significant progress. A year ago, the peace process was stalled. In September this year, the Parties signed a revitalised peace agreement. We have consistently welcomed this as an important step to bringing peace to South Sudan. We also welcome the efforts of the region, the parties to the conflict, and our colleagues in the UN for their contribution to securing this important progress.
- We have been encouraged by the drop in overall levels of violence in South Sudan as a sign that the Agreement is beginning to make life better for the people of South Sudan, although we are concerned by continuing outbreaks of fighting and breaches of the ceasefire. In addition, although progress has been slow, we are also encouraged by the progress by the parties in establishing some of the technical committees and processes required to implement the agreement.
- Our sincere hope is that 2019 sees this progress sustained and built upon. But we should be under no illusion that this will be easy. We must not divert our attention from South Sudan. Now more than ever; more than ever the unified action of this Council to support peace is needed to translate hope into real change.
- This Council has made clear its revulsion at the acts of rape and brutalization of women and girls reported near Bentiu last month, as set out so movingly by SRSG Patten in this Chamber today. This is sadly not unprecedented in South Sudan, as seen by the reports of 900 civilians abducted in Western Equatoria between April and August, including for sexual slavery. The sexual violence against girls as young as eight near Bentiu was truly horrendous and was committed whilst the parties claimed their commitment to implementing peace. The victims deserve accountability for the crimes committed against them. Full and thorough investigations must be carried out, support provided to survivors, and that those responsible are held to account. And like SRSG Patten, we urge the hybrid court be established as soon as possible.
- This Council, for its part, should continue to maintain the pressure on those who act against peace in South Sudan and to end the culture of impunity that has endured for too long, and all Members States should uphold in full the sanctions in place already as a clear message that those who work against peace will not succeed. And in that light, I welcome the briefing of Ambassador Wronecka and her activism over the last year.
- Despite commitments made in the 12 September peace deal, humanitarian workers continue to face obstruction to the delivery of aid by all sides. The 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan released last week highlights 7.1 million people will need humanitarian assistance in 2019. It is absolutely vital that free and unhindered access is granted. However restrictions continue; 52 access incidents were reported in November. 39% of these represented violence against humanitarian personnel and assets, over a third caused by state groups. We call on the leaders of South Sudan to allow humanitarian work to proceed unencumbered by threat or hindrance in 2019.
- Mr President, our partners in the region have been key to the progress seen in 2018. We applaud the role of IGAD and its members in this and urge continued engagement as it is essential to helping ensure this latest agreement delivers a lasting peace. We reiterate our call to the region to engage fully with the United Nations and with Security Council members on any proposal to deploy troops in support the agreement, and echo the Secretary-General’s comments in his report that any deployment of troops by the region in support of the deal cannot compensate for the lack of political action by the South Sudanese on security issues. And we support the comments made by Under-Secretary-General Lacroix during our last meeting that any forces deployed to support the agreement would need to be under a unified UN chain of command and comply with UN peacekeeping standards.
- In conclusion, Mr President, I hope that we can look to 2019 with optimism for the people of South Sudan. To make a reality of their hopes for peace and progress, their leaders will need to demonstrate their commitment and will to implementing the agreement. This includes putting the mechanisms for peace in place, including finalising the Transitional Security Arrangements and forming the Revitalised Transitional Government of National Unity as highlighted by the Secretary-General. It must also include putting an end to the fighting completely, prioritising protection from violence – including sexual violence for the people of South Sudan, pursuing accountability for those that do commit violations and enabling unhindered access for the delivery of humanitarian assistance to all those in need and for human rights and CTSAMM monitors who were blocked several times in November. If we make progress on these fronts, the people of South Sudan will begin to believe that their hopes will be realised.
Communications Team l UK Mission to the UN
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