South Sudan: Security Council Press Statement
The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Gérard Araud (France):
The members of the Security Council expressed grave alarm and concern regarding the rapidly deteriorating security and humanitarian crisis in South Sudan resulting from the political dispute among the country’s political leaders, which threatens serious implications for the long-term security and stability of South Sudan, as well as for the neighboring countries and other peace and security challenges in the region.
The members of the Security Council strongly condemned the fighting and targeted violence against civilians and specific ethnic and other communities occurring across the country that have resulted in hundreds of deaths and casualties, and tens of thousands of internally displaced persons. The members of the Security Council stressed the necessity for all parties to reject this violence in all its forms and to resolve disagreements peacefully, and called on President Salva Kiir and former Vice-President Riek Machar to demonstrate leadership in bringing a swift and peaceful resolution to this crisis by calling for a cessation of hostilities and immediately commencing a dialogue. They called on all parties to protect detainees. They also further encouraged all South Sudan’s leaders, political and military, to engage in a political process of national reconciliation and constitutional reform through peaceful and inclusive means, underpinned by respect for the rule of law.
The members of the Security Council called on all relevant States and organizations to use their influence with South Sudan’s political leaders to bring about an end to the violence and initiate reconciliation.
In this regard, the members of the Security Council welcomed the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Ministerial Group’s swift initiative, as supported by the United Nations and African Union, in seeking to open the dialogue and mediate between key leaders. They strongly urged all parties to cooperate with this initiative.
The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the attack on a United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) camp in Akobo, on 19 December, which resulted in the death of two Indian peacekeepers and the wounding of another, as well as at least 20 other causalities of individuals seeking UNMISS protection. The members of the Security Council expressed their condolences to the families of those peacekeepers killed in the attack, as well as to the Government of India, and to UNMISS, and called on the Government of South Sudan to swiftly investigate the incident and bring the perpetrators to justice. They also stressed that intentionally directing attacks against personnel, installations, material, units or vehicles involved in a peacekeeping mission deployed in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, as long as they are entitled to the protection given to civilians or civilian objects under the international law of armed conflict, may amount to a crime under international law.
The members of the Council condemned reported human rights violations and abuses by all parties, including armed groups and national security forces, and emphasized that those responsible for any violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law must be held accountable.
The members of the Security Council expressed deep concern regarding attacks on civilians and the increasing number of displaced persons, and called on all parties to allow and expedite the safe and unhindered access of humanitarian organizations and the timely delivery of humanitarian assistance to populations in need, while respecting the UN guiding principles of humanitarian assistance. They strongly condemned the attacks on oil installations, which resulted in heavy loss of life of oil workers, and called upon all parties to ensure the security of economic infrastructures and the safety of the employees.
The members of the Security Council commended the active steps taken by UNMISS to implement its mandate and other humanitarian agencies that have given refuge in their premises and other forms of assistance to the civilians caught in the fighting. They encouraged UNMISS to continue to implement fully its mandate, in particular the protection of civilians, and called on South Sudanese authorities to provide their full support and assistance in this regard. They also emphasized that efforts to undermine UNMISS’ ability to implement its mandate will not be tolerated and urged all parties to cooperate fully with UNMISS.
The members of the Security Council reaffirmed their strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Republic of South Sudan. They appealed to the principal leaders concerned to live up to their individual responsibilities to the people of South Sudan and to do everything possible to fulfill the aspirations of its people.
The members of the Security Council reiterated their intention to continue to follow the situation closely and to take additional steps as necessary.