For an implication of UNMISS in the peace process [fr]
Statement by Mrs Anne Gueguen, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council – 18 September 2019
I, too, would like to thank Mr. Shearer, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for South Sudan, for his intervention. I shall comment on three points.
1/ First, on the peace process, the current priority is to form a transitional Government of national unity by 12 November.
France welcomes Riek Machar’s visit to Juba last week. It is an important step that has strengthened trust between him and Salva Kiir. We encourage them to repeat such in-person meetings as often as possible.
Time is running out. The end of the pretransition period is looming, in two months’ time, and a further postponement would be unacceptable. The top priority must be the formation of the Government of national unity, but, in parallel, it is important, as the Special Representative has stressed, to make progress on the delineation of internal borders and on security arrangements.
France welcomes the efforts of the countries of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development to support the peace process. Indeed, the subregion’s investment is absolutely essential to helping the parties to move forward, and we encourage them to continue in this direction.
It is also necessary to respect the quotas for women provided for in the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan and to allow them to participate actively and meaningfully in the peace process, at all levels and on all issues.
The visit to Juba by the Security Council next month will be an opportunity to repeat those messages.
2/ Secondly, the humanitarian situation remains alarming and can be improved in the long term only through the creation of lasting peace. While the increase in the number of voluntary returns is encouraging and directly linked to recent political progress, intercommunity violence continues to drive people into exile.
These forced displacements, it should be recalled, take place in a context of extreme poverty, characterized by particularly high food insecurity. All parties must ensure safe and unhindered humanitarian access throughout the country in order for growing humanitarian needs to be met. Naturally, this involves protecting humanitarian personnel, medical personnel and civilian and humanitarian infrastructure and equipment. It is an obligation on which we must not compromise.
The fight against sexual violence must also remain a priority. We commend the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Ms. Pramila Patten, on her work in the field. As a result of those efforts, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition has adopted an action plan to combat sexual violence in its ranks.
France is also concerned about the human rights violations reported by the commission mandated by the Human Rights Council.
France reiterates its commitment to the fight against impunity and the importance of prosecuting and bringing to justice perpetrators of violations. Accordingly, we call on all parties to establish the hybrid court for South Sudan, with the support of the African Union.
The Security Council also has a role to play and must systematically use sanctions to punish and coerce those who commit such crimes.
3/ Thirdly, France is committed to ensuring that the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) pursues its efforts to protect civilians, in particular women and children, as that must remain the first priority of the mission.
France commends the Mission’s efforts to ensure the proper functioning of protection of civilian sites, whose opening in 2013 has undeniably saved thousands of human lives. But it is also essential to protect all South Sudanese who need it, wherever they are in the country.
France supports the Mission’s new, more robust and mobile stance and the strengthening of early warning mechanisms. Those efforts must be continued in order to make areas of return safer.
In conclusion, on behalf of France, I would like to offer my sincere thanks to the United Nations teams and humanitarian actors who are conducting, often in difficult conditions, a vital mission in the service of the people of South Sudan.