The UN Security Council repeats demands for South Sudan warring parties to engage meaningfully in the peace process (May 19, 2015)
The United Nations Security Council has condemned the renewed and ongoing large scale violence in South Sudan’s Unity state, saying military offensives by pro-government forces had led to the displacement of over 100,000 civilians and with another 300,000 civilians being denied access to the aid being provided by humanitarian agencies as a result from fighting between the two sides. It also condemned the large-scale attack by armed opposition forces in Malakal, Upper Nile State capital on 15 May. Malakal, which has changed hands several times, was captured by the opposition SPLM-in Opposition again on Saturday (May 16). In a press statement over the weekend, the Security Council called on all the parties to engage meaningfully in the peace process so as to bring about a political solution to the crisis and an end to the South Sudan conflict. It expressed concern about the worsening of the humanitarian crisis and renewed its call for the parties to the conflict to allow and facilitate the “full, safe and unhindered access” of humanitarian personnel, equipment and supplies to all those in need and timely delivery of humanitarian assistance. It further condemned all human rights violations and abuses and demanded an immediate end to them, noting that the government bears the primary responsibility to protect the civilians from abuses and from potential crimes against humanity and war crimes. The Council again acknowledged the peace process led by IGAD and urged renewed regional and international efforts to swiftly implement a common plan and to table a reasonable and comprehensive solution to end the crisis. Council members also “reiterated their willingness to impose sanctions against those who threaten the peace, security or stability of South Sudan as established in the resolution 2206 ’2015) and noted the 24 March 2015 African Union Peace and Security Council communiqué On South Sudan and the 12 May 2015 African Union Commission Chairperson’s Statement on South Sudan in this regard.” The Council reiterated its full support for UN peacekeepers in South Sudan and demanded all parties end intimidation and harassment against the UN mission in South Sudan and stop restrictions on freedom of movement. It further demanded full adherence to the Status of Forces Agreement and permission for the deployment of essential assets and enablers currently being blocked by the South Sudan Government. The statement said “the members of the Security Council underscored the importance of close cooperation and communication between UNMISS and government in addressing these issues.” Earlier, the Council had heard from the head of the UN Mission in South Sudan of the “untold suffering” of people. Addressing the Security Council on Thursday, Ellen Margrethe Loj, detailed how the conflict has displaced millions of people, yet showing no signs of an end, despite the efforts of IGAD. “The untold suffering of the people of South Sudan must stop.” She said “Every day without a political agreement contributes to a further deterioration of the situation on the ground, leading to greater displacement and human misery, and risks regional peace and security.” She said the most serious situation was currently in Unity State where the Government forces launched an offensive at the end of April advancing towards Koch, Leer and Adok. The UN says over 2 million people have been displaced, 1.5 million internally, and 500,000 into neighboring countries, with 2.5 million people face severe food insecurity.