Security Council Briefing: South Sudan
Statement by H.E. Lise Gregoire-van Haaren,
Deputy Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations
New York, 16 November 2018
Mr. President, I would like to thank the briefers for their valuable joint visit to South Sudan last month, and their briefings today in the Council. I also would like to thank you for emphasizing the need for tangible actions to ensure meaningful participation of women in the political process and future security arrangements.
The women of South Sudan should be at the center of all of our efforts. It is those women who suffer most from the ongoing, brutal and widespread fighting. It is those women who dared to call for peace long before their political leaders were willing to listen.
Mr. President, I would like to make the following three points in support of the women of South Sudan:
- The implementation of the peace agreement;
- Unhindered access for UNMISS and humanitarian actors.
1. The implementation of the peace agreement
My first point is the implementation of the peace agreement. We welcome the signing of the peace agreement, and thank IGAD and the African Union for their leadership in this regard. We also welcome the ratification of the agreement by the South Sudan national assembly.
At the same time, we are concerned about reports of ongoing fighting in Wau, Yei and Unity. Full implementation of the peace agreement and silencing the guns in South Sudan is the only way forward.
However, successful implementation requires full and meaningful participation of women, as they offer a vital perspective in the analysis of conflict.
They are also the ones that show leadership in building bridges across opposing factions. Their full and meaningful participation increases the inclusiveness, transparency and sustainability of peace processes.
That is why we, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, strongly welcome the 35 percent quota for women participation in the South Sudan peace agreement.
We would like to encourage all parties to meet this quota and ensure the meaningful participation of women in all instruments and processes related to the peace agreement.
Mr. President, that brings me to my second point, the need for accountability. The Kingdom of the Netherlands underlines the importance of chapter 5 of the peace agreement, which deals with accountability and transitional justice.
There can be no sustainable peace if impunity persists. Clearly, this also applies to sexual violence in conflict.
As we highlighted during the Arria meeting of October 22nd, we must move from a culture of impunity to a culture of deterrence. That is why we remind all parties in South Sudan that the Security Council has the ability to sanction perpetrators of sexual violence.
However, sanctions may never substitute the need for full accountability. That is why we echo the call by the AU Peace and Security Council on October 10th to sign the Memorandum of Understanding to establish the Hybrid Court.
We also welcome the signing of a joint communique on the prevention of sexual violence by the government of South Sudan, and call for its full implementation.
Ensuring justice is essential for reconciliation and to pave the way for sustainable peace.
3. Unhindered access for UNMISS and humanitarian actors
Mr. President, my third point is the need for unhindered access for UNMISS and humanitarian actors. On a daily basis, UNMISS personnel risk their lives to provide security to civilians throughout South Sudan. We welcome UNMISS to continue to strengthen its forward-leaning posture to protect civilians from physical violence, including sexual violence.
We regret that we continue to see reports of SOFA violations, and again urge the government of South Sudan to ensure full freedom of movement for UNMISS. Similarly, we urge the full and unhindered access for humanitarian workers, as they are providing essential support to the population.
The peace agreement provides an opportunity to strengthen the resilience of the population. This especially helps women and children, and with them the future of South Sudan.
Humanitarian actors are on the front line of these efforts, sometimes paying the highest price.
To conclude, Mr. President, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The signing of the peace agreement represents an historical step.
But the work is not done. In fact, it has just started.
Let us work together to ensure this light shines for all the people of South Sudan, and to ensure that women play a decisive role in shaping the future.
Thank you, Mr. President.
Image: ©UN Photo/Rick Bajornas