Thank you SRSG Haysom for your briefing and your efforts.
Norway remains deeply concerned about the situation in South Sudan. People continue to suffer. The humanitarian situation has never been worse- and it is now aggravated by heavy flooding. Yet, the main obstacle to a better future, is the slow implementation of the Revitalised Peace Agreement. A collapse of the peace agreement will have dire consequences for the whole region.
We welcome the recent re-constitution, and appointment of members, to most of the State Assemblies- and we urge the Government of South Sudan to finalise this process. We also welcome the President’s decision to resume the Rome talks with non-signatories. However, South Sudan’s leaders must demonstrate real determination to make the whole agreement work. We stress the need to finalise implementation of Chapter 2 on security arrangements.
It is urgent also to nominate members to the Transitional National Legislate Assembly’s (TLN) specialised committees, and accelerate the passing of critical legislation. Delays will jeopardise the process towards free and fair elections. It is crucial that the Constitutional Reform process is inclusive, and led and owned, by the people of South Sudan.
Norway is deeply concerned by the shrinking political space in South Sudan. Attempts to silence civil society activists and the media, through arbitrary arrests, and unlawful detention runs counter to the spirit of the Peace Agreement, and the rule of law. Furthermore, the full, equal, and meaningful participation of women will be essential to building a peaceful and democratic Sudan. They must be included in all spheres, from politics, to decision-making, and peacebuilding.
In this respect we continue to call for adherence to the 35% quota for the representation of women- at a minimum, and welcome the workshops organised by UNMISS for women members of parliament.
Norway is deeply troubled by the many subnational conflicts- including in Tambura, Warrap and Jonglei. We reiterate that it is the Government’s responsibility to protect all civilians. Violence is the main cause of the high levels of food insecurity, and increased humanitarian need. Violence and conflict- including direct threats by youth groups- also prevents the delivery of humanitarian assistance. And it is deeply alarming that violations and abuses against children continue- and indeed have increased in the third quarter of 2021. These appalling acts have been committed by all parties, including Government security forces.
We urge all parties to comply with their obligations under international law, and make all efforts to end and prevent the six grave violations against children.
We welcome the protection of civilians and peacebuilding work of UNMISS- in particular through the Temporary Operating Bases. And we want to note the marked improvement in access for peacekeepers. Norway remains committed to support UNMISS. And we are pleased that Christine Fossen was appointed UNMISS Police Commissioner.
Public financial management reforms aimed at curbing corruption, and improving non-oil revenue, are also crucial for the implementation of the peace agreement, and international support. We call on the government to invest more in key reforms that will bring transparency and accountability to the country’s public finances.
The region continues to play an invaluable role in supporting peace efforts in South Sudan. And we support Uganda’s initiative to organise a leadership retreat. Colleagues, as we close out this year, let me place on record our hope that 2022 will bring improvements to the lives of the South Sudanese people.