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, 18 December 2018

Thank you, Mr. President.

On behalf of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, I would like to thank USG Lacroix, Her Excellency Miss Joanna Wronecka and SRSG Pramila Patten for their valuable briefings. We pay tribute to commitment each of you demonstrate in promoting peace, justice and development for South Sudan.

Mr. President, it has been little over three months since the parties to the conflict in South Sudan signed and revitalized the peace agreement. Since the signing, we have been able to welcome some important developments. In particular, we welcome the convening of pre-transitional committees and mechanisms, the implementation of confidence building measures such as joint field visits and the release of some political prisoners.

However, as stated multiple times, the strength of a peace agreement will be determined by its ability to deliver safety and stability to the people of South Sudan. In that context, we are concerned by the continuing ceasefire violations, in particular around Greater Baggari.

In addition, the recent attacks on civilians near Bentiu, where at least 125 women, including elderly, pregnant and minors, were raped within the space of one week, were cowardly and horrendous. These events are a serious setback to the peace process, and demonstrate the ongoing need for further progress on the following three points:

  • First, full implementation of the peace agreement;
  • Second, accountability;
  • Third, priority for protection of civilian by UNMISS.

1. Full implementation of the peace agreement

Mr. President, my first point is on the need for the full implementation of the peace agreement. This is the only sustainable way to protect the people of South Sudan. But as timelines are slipping, continued action is necessary to keep up to the existing momentum.

Therefore, we call for an immediate stop to the ongoing fighting, the finalization of negotiations for the transitional security arrangements and a greater effort to reach the 35 percent quota for women participation.

We also call on all sides to facilitate, not frustrate, humanitarian acces, and make an end to the bureaucratic impediments that humanitarian actors currently face.

In addition, we look to IGAD to continue to demonstrate leadership and unite the international community to provide necessary support and pressure during the implementation process.

The UN, the AU, the AU-C5 and the EU have stated their commitment to support the process, and we sincerely hope IGAD will seize this opportunity.  

2. Accountability

Mr. President, my second point is on the need for accountability. There is a clear need to show that there are consequences for those who continue to attack civilians, commit sexual violence or violate human rights.  

It is the responsibilities of the parties, in particular the Government of South Sudan, to show leadership on this issue. This includes holding perpetrators accountable and making concrete progress towards the implementation of the full chapter 5 of the peace agreement. In particular the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing and the Hybrid Court for South Sudan are essential to guarantee justice and reconciliation.

At the same time, we all have a responsibility to do what is in our capacity to deter such heinous crimes. We remind everyone that this Council has decided on a specific designation criterion for sexual violence, and reaffirm the readiness of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to act on this criterion.

3. Priority for protection of civilian by UNMISS

Mr. President, this brings me to my third point: the ongoing need for protection of civilians by UNMISS. The ongoing sexual violence is a painful reminder that UNMISS remains the primary source of protection for the people of South Sudan.

It also demonstrates the importance of a robust, nimble and forward-leaning presence by UNMISS outside the PoC sites.

Equally important is close coordination on security issues between UNMISS and humanitarian actors and local communities, especially women.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands invites the Secretary-General to proactively and consistently share with this Council the steps the mission continues to take to implement and sustain the lessons on these issues.  

Conclusion

In conclusion, Mr. President, an even greater, sustained and united effort by all of us is necessary.

But in the end, only the leaders of South Sudan determine whether there will be sustainable peace in the country.

They told us they are serious about peace. We ask them to show us.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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