General Assembly Security Council

UNSC Briefing on UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS)

[15 September 2021]

 

India Statement delivered by

Ambassador R. Ravindra, Deputy Permanent Representative

 

Mr. President,

 

At the outset, let me thank SRSG Frank Haysom for his briefing on the implementation of the UNMISS mandate and recent developments in South Sudan.  I also thank Ms. Reena Ghelani from OCHA and Ms. Nanjia, civil society activist for their useful updates and insights.

 

2. The developments in South Sudan during the last three months have provided impetus to the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement. Political violence has decreased, and the parties have been by and large faithful to the Revitalized Agreement. The peaceful cohabitation of various political parties is reassuring and provides hope for peace and stability.

 

3. The Presidency of the Republic of South Sudan and the leadership has taken noteworthy steps. The appointment of new members to the Council of States [COS] with a large representation of women, reconstitution of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly [TNLA], and their swearing into office in August, appointment of the first woman Speaker, and new political appointments, are indeed all positive signs. We encourage TNLA and COS, to focus on the much needed legislative work, to meet the benchmarks set in the Revitalized Agreement.

 

4. Nevertheless, the recent suspension of the Rome initiative, in the wake of killings on the Juba-Nimule road is a matter of concern. It is important to resume talks, on a priority basis, to revive the reconciliation process between the Transitional Government, and the South Sudan Opposition Movements Alliance (SSOMA). We also note the launching of the consultative process for the establishment of the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing (CTRH). We hope that the South Sudan leadership and parties will work towards consolidating these positive developments in the coming months.

 

5. It is encouraging that economic reforms have continued to improve macroeconomic stability and public finances in the country, and helped to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

6. On the security front, it is again encouraging that the ceasefire has continued to hold, though localized violence has increased. The defections and internal disputes, and fighting within SPLM/A-IO [SPLM-Army in opposition] has unfortunately resulted in fatalities. We commend the mediating role of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in addressing the situation. The continuing violence calls for an early establishment of the Unified Command of the military and the graduation of the Necessary Unified Forces, which is a critical aspect of the Agreement. In this regard, we support the call given by the Presidency of South Sudan for cessation of hostilities between the rival factions and observance of a reasonable distance to prevent further violence.

 

7. We appreciate the continuing cooperation between the Transitional Government and UNMISS in providing protection to IDPs in camps for the internally displaced, which are now under the sovereign control of the Government. We urge UNMISS to continue to move forward on the transition of the Malakal Protection of Civilians site, as conditions permit, and in line with its mandate. The humanitarian needs of the population are increasing and the international community needs to step in to bridge the funding gap in the budget.

 

8. We remain concerned about violations under the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). This needs to be addressed in a pro-active manner by the Transitional Government working together with UNMISS authorities. We condemn targeting of and attacks against humanitarian workers and assets, including the looting of humanitarian supplies in conflict-affected areas, which have significantly impacted operations negatively.

 

Mr. President,

 

9. India has been one of the largest TCCs to UNMISS since its establishment a decade ago. Last month, India contributed to and partnered with the UN in the rolling out the UNITE Aware platform, initially in four UN Peacekeeping Missions, which  possibly includes UNMISS. We firmly believe that contemporary peacekeeping must be anchored in a strong ecosystem of technology and innovation that can facilitate UN peacekeeping operations in implementing their mandates in complex environments.

 

10. The Indian contingent in UNMISS is also contributing to sustainable development and welfare of the people of South Sudan. Computer training and veterinary assistance camps have been organized by the Indian Battalion during this month. It is a matter of immense pride that 135 of my fellow countrymen, serving as part of UNMISS, have recently been awarded UN medals for their outstanding performance in Jonglei State and the Greater Pibor Administrative Area. Taking this opportunity, I would like to pay tribute to Indian peacekeepers Corporal Yuvraj Singh and Mr. Ivan Michael Picardo who have been posthumously awarded the prestigious Dag Hammarskjold Medal this year for their courage and sacrifice in the line of duty.

 

Mr. President,

 

11. Ten years ago, India joined other Council members in welcoming South Sudan in the comity of nations on 9 July 2011. India congratulates the people and Government of South Sudan on their tenth anniversary as an independent and sovereign State. We believe, at this transformative phase, South Sudan requires the wholehearted support of the international community, including from the IGAD, AU and UN. For its part, India will continue to support South Sudan, and its people.

 

I thank you.

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