Thank you to SRSG Haysom, General Gituai and Ms Riya Williams Yuyada for their insightful briefings.
The Revitalized Peace Agreement has now entered its final year. Yet we continue to be deeply concerned about the situation in South Sudan. Time is running out if elections are to be held as scheduled at the end of the transitional period. The level of violence remains unacceptably high, and humanitarian needs are increasing.
We are deeply concerned by recent allegations of human rights violations and abuses in Unity State, and we urge the Government to investigate these allegations, and to hold perpetrators accountable. Competition for political control and resources between various armed actors also causes fighting throughout the country- including between signatories to the Peace Agreement.
It is fair to ask whether the Permanent Ceasefire is actually holding. Sub-national violence combined with significant economic distress threatens the prospect of an inclusive constitution-making process, and the peaceful conduct of elections.
However, South Sudan has made some progress recently on Public Financial Management reforms. These reforms are important to address the link between economic mismanagement and insecurity across the country. We call on the Government to eliminate avenues for corruption, and increase transparency and accountability- especially for oil revenues- and to give higher priority to delivering services. Blaming slow implementation of the Peace Agreement on a lack of resources is not convincing.
We commend UNMISS’s efforts to promote dialogue, peaceful coexistence, and reconciliation at local levels. We appreciate also their focus on securing the full, equal, and meaningful participation of women in local peace efforts.
Further efforts are needed: We call on all parties to end violence at all levels. We stress the need to finalise the implementation of Chapter 2 on security arrangements, and urge the parties to expedite this process. The graduation of the Necessary Unified Forces, and unifying the command structure is also essential, and long overdue.
Moreover, to create conditions conducive for elections, we need to see a fundamental shift in the approach by the parties to the Revitalised Agreement. An inclusive Constitutional Reform process, led and owned by the people of South Sudan, and built on shared values, is a unique opportunity for a young Nation. Yet, it will only be a positive experience if there is political space and true freedom.
Attempts to silence civil society activists, and the media, runs counter to: the spirit of the Peace Agreement, respect for human rights, the rule of law, and democratic governance. We support President Museveni’s invitation to a “Principals’ Retreat” but regret it has – yet again – been delayed. We strongly encourage South Sudan’s leaders to value, and seize, regional peace initiatives.
Furthermore, Norway remains deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation in South Sudan. Violence causes increased humanitarian needs, and prevents humanitarians from delivering assistance. We reiterate that it is the Government’s responsibility to protect civilians - including children.
We need also to ensure that climate-related security risks are integrated into efforts to manage communal natural resources, and conflicts over land ownership and rights. The Government’s capacity to adapt to climate change, and integrate climate-related security risks, needs to be strengthened. We believe there is an important supportive role for UNMISS in this.
In closing President,
Norway strongly supports the renewal of UNMISS mandate, and we hope the people of South Sudan will experience much deserved peace, and development, in the coming mandate period.