The United Nations peacekeeping mission in South Sudan continues to play an important role in protecting civilians and aid workers, acknowledged Alternate Representative for Special Political Affairs Ambassador Robert Wood in recent remarks to the UN Security Council. At the same time, he expressed grave alarm “over the rise of violence against civilians in South Sudan … where killings of civilians increased by 79 percent.”
Ambassador Wood reiterated the United States’ view that South Sudan’s transitional leaders bear responsibility to end the violence and hold perpetrators accountable.
“We remind the Transitional Government of South Sudan that it has not upheld its primary responsibility to protect the civilians of South Sudan. If the Transitional Government wishes to achieve a successful transition to a permanent government, then it is imperative that it take responsibility to protect civilians and create a secure and stable electoral environment.”
The United States urges the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan to become more proactive in implementing its protection of civilians and deploy peacekeepers to areas where civilians are at the greatest risks of physical violence.
2023 will mark a critical year for South Sudanese leaders to uphold their commitments on implementing benchmarks of the peace agreement. Transitional leaders must first expand civic space and create conditions under which all political parties, civil society, internally displaced persons, and South Sudanese citizens will have equal inclusion in the peace process that will shape South Sudan’s future, declared Ambassador Wood:
“We call upon the Transitional Government to act now to show the political will to create such conditions, including by ensuring that South Sudanese men and women can freely express their political views without fear of arrest.”
The Transitional Government reported $1.6 billion in oil revenue last year yet continues to fail to allocate those resources to address the humanitarian needs of its population, warned Ambassador Wood:
“We urgently call on South Sudanese officials to dedicate more of its oil revenue to addressing the crisis and allow and facilitate the safe access and delivery of humanitarian assistance in South Sudan. We also condemn the killings of five humanitarian workers since the beginning of the year and call on the government to fully support humanitarian access and protect humanitarian aid personnel working tirelessly to deliver aid to South Sudanese people.”
The United States remains committed to the cause of peace and to the people of South Sudan.