South Sudan:"the protection of civilians remains imperative" [fr]
UNMISS/South-Sudan - Speech by Mrs. Anne Gueguen, Deputy permanent representative - Security Council - 26 September 2017
"Enabling humanitarian staff to do their work in conflict zones is a core requirement that must be upheld.", Anne Gueguen, 26 September 2017
I would like to thank you, Mr. President, for convening this meeting. I would also like to thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. David Shearer, as well as the Chair of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission, President Festus Mogae, for their thorough briefings. Faced with such a bitter and, at times, discouraging assessment of this persistant conflict, I would like to focus on two points in particular.
First of all, upon having the magnitude of the daily tragedy recalled to us, I commend the efforts of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and of the humanitarian staff who provide critical assistance to people in South Sudan. The figures are staggering and point to the sheer scale of the crisis, which is worsened by the particularly dire conditions in South Sudan, particularly for those who deliver aid to the population.
South Sudan is indeed among the most dangerous countries for humanitarian workers, 18 of whom have been killed since the beginning of this year. We cannot tolerate this situation. We firmly condemn the attacks and access restrictions targeting UNMISS personnel as well as humanitarian actors.
We call upon all parties to respect international humanitarian law and provide access to the most vulnerable people. Enabling humanitarian staff to do their work in conflict zones is a core requirement that must be upheld. Such attacks against humanitarian workers, facilitated by the proliferation of weapons in South Sudan, serve as a reminder of the importance of considering the imposition of an arms embargo to deprive parties to the conflict of opportunities to perpetrate such violence.
In this difficult context, the protection of civilians remains imperative. France welcomes the efforts of UNMISS in carrying out its mandate under Mr. Shearer’s stewardship. The robust posture that he has adopted to provide better protection for civilians is critical while the violence persists. The deployment of the first Regional Protection Force units is an encouraging development, although unfortunately this occurred more than a year after the Council’s decided to establish it. It is crucial that the deadlock be broken as soon as possible.
Secondly, I would like to underscore the importance of moving the political process forward. We are aware that a lasting settlement to the crisis in South Sudan can only be political and can only be achieved with regional support. The launch of the high-level revitalization forum for the 2015 peace agreement should help advance this process. France commends the commitment of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and calls upon the African Union Peace and Security Council to ensure that the forum be made a reality as soon as possible, as is explicitly called for in the 20 September Communiqué. The parties must address these initiatives and fully commit themselves to the success of the forum.
The progress reports proposed by the Peace and Security Council, as well as the threat and imposition of sanctions against those seeking to hamper these efforts, should contribute to rapid progress being made. France welcomes the efforts of various stakeholders to make the forum a reality, in particularly the IGAD Special Envoy, the African Union High Representative and the Special Envoy to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, as well as Special Representative Shearer and President Mogae.
Smooth coordination by all in this undertaking is the key to success. France considers it equally critical to continue working to ensure an inclusive national dialogue so as to contribute to building lasting peace. We are further encouraged by the call of the Peace and Security Council for the establishment of the Hybrid Court stipulated by the peace agreement. The struggle against impunity is indispensable for achieving lasting peace in South Sudan.
The commitment of both our Council and the region are critical in order to bring about peace in South Sudan. Together we must take advantage of the next few weeks to build upon these efforts for the benefit of the people
of the South Sudan.