Having determined that the situation faced by South Sudan continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security in the region and acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, the Security Council by its resolution 1996 (2011) of 8 July 2011 established the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) for an initial period of one year as from 9 July 2011 with the intention to renew for further periods as may be required.
According to the original mandate UNMISS was to support the Government in peace consolidation and thereby fostering longer-term state building and economic development; assist the Government in exercising its responsibilities for conflict prevention, mitigation, and resolution and protect civilians; and help the authorities in developing capacity to provide security, establishing the rule of law, and strengthening the security and justice sectors in the country. The initial authorized strength of the Mission stood at up to 7,000 military personnel, including military liaison officers and staff officers, up to 900 civilian police personnel, including as appropriate formed units, and an appropriate civilian component, including technical human rights investigation expertise.
Following the political and security crisis, which broke out with violence in South Sudan’s capital Juba on 15 December 2013, the Security Council, by its resolution 2132 (2013) of 24 December, approved Secretary-General’s recommendation to temporarily increase the overall troop and police strength of UNMISS. The interim troop level was raised to 12,500 personnel and the police component to 1,323 personnel, including appropriate formed police units, through temporary transfers from existing peacekeeping operations through inter-mission cooperation.
In March 2014, the Secretary-General further recommended that the Security Council should keep these increased troops and police levels for at least another 12 months, and temporarily shift Mission’s focus from mainly peacebuilding activities to: protecting civilians; facilitating humanitarian assistance; monitoring and reporting on human rights; preventing further inter-communal violence; and supporting the IGAD process as and when requested, and within available capabilities. The protection priority would be for displaced people sheltering in United Nations compounds and other locations, and would expand once conditions were created for their safe return home, he said, adding that the new posture of UNMISS would be in place until the two sides to the conflict finalized a political agreement.
By unanimously adopting resolution 2155 (2014) of 27 May 2014, the Security Council decided that Decides that UNMISS would consist of a military component of up to 12,500 troops of all ranks and of a police component, including appropriate Formed Police Units, of up to 1,323 personnel; and authorized UNMISS to use all necessary means to perform its tasks.
In December 2015, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 2252 (2015), which slightly changed the mandate of the Mission (see below) and extended its mandate till 31 July 2016.
Through a procedure known as a technical roll-over, the UNMISS mandate was then, on 31 July 2016, temporarily extended till 12 August 2016 in order to give all relevant stakeholders much-needed time to deepen the discussions on the way forward.
On 12 August 2016, these discussions resulted in the Security Council adopting resolution 2304 (2016). The council decided to extend the UNMISS mandate, as set out in resolution 2252 (2015), until 15 December 2016, and to authorize UNMISS to use “all necessary means to carry out its tasks”. These tasks, the current Mission mandate, as stated in the previous resolution 2252 (2015), are the following:
(a) Protection of civilians:
(i) To protect civilians under threat of physical violence, irrespective of the source of such violence, within its capacity and areas of deployment, with specific protection for women and children, including through the continued use of the Mission’s Child Protection and Women Protection Advisers;
(ii) To deter violence against civilians, including foreign nationals, especially through proactive deployment, active patrolling with particular attention to IDPs, including, but not limited to, those in protection sites and refugee camps, humanitarian personnel and human rights defenders, and identification of threats and attacks against civilians, including through regular interaction with civilians and working closely with humanitarian, human rights and development organizations, in areas at high risk of conflict including, as appropriate, schools, places of worship, hospitals, and the oil installations, in particular when the Government of the Republic of South Sudan is unable or failing to provide such security;
(iii) To implement a mission-wide early warning strategy, including a coordinated approach to information gathering, monitoring, verification, early warning and dissemination, and response mechanisms, including response mechanisms to threats and attacks against civilians that may involve violations and abuses of human rights or violations of international humanitarian law, as well as to prepare for further potential attacks on United Nations personnel and facilities;
(iv) To maintain public safety and security of and within UNMISS protection of civilians sites;
(v) To exercise good offices, confidence-building, and facilitation in support of the mission’s protection strategy, especially in regard to women and children, including to facilitate the prevention, mitigation and resolution of intercommunal conflict in order to foster sustainable local and national reconciliation as an essential part of preventing violence and long-term State-building activity;
(vi) To foster a secure environment for the eventual safe and voluntary return of IDPs and refugees including through monitoring of, ensuring respect for human rights by, and where compatible and in strict compliance with the United Nations Human Rights Due Diligence Policy (HRDDP), coordination with police services and civil society actors in relevant and protection-focused activities, such as sensitization to issues of sexual and gender-based violence, in order to strengthen protection of civilians;
(b) Monitoring, and investigating human rights:
(i) To monitor, investigate, verify, and report publicly and regularly on abuses and violations of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law, including those that may amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity;
(ii) To monitor, investigate, verify and report specifically and publicly on violations and abuses committed against children and women, including those involving all forms of sexual and gender-based violence in armed conflict by accelerating the implementation of monitoring, analysis and reporting arrangements on conflict-related sexual violence and by strengthening the monitoring and reporting mechanism for violations and abuses against children;
(iii) To coordinate with, and provide technical support to international, regional, and national mechanisms engaged in monitoring, investigating, and reporting human rights violations, as appropriate;
(c) Creating the conditions conducive to the delivery of humanitarian assistance:
(i) To contribute, in close coordination with humanitarian actors, to the creation of security conditions conducive to the delivery of humanitarian assistance, confidence-building and facilitation, so as to allow, the rapid, safe and unhindered access of relief personnel to all those in need in South Sudan and timely delivery of humanitarian assistance, in particular to IDPs and refugees, recalling the need for compliance with the relevant provisions of international law and respect for the UN guiding principles of humanitarian assistance;
(ii) To ensure the security and freedom of movement of United Nations and associated personnel where appropriate, and to ensure the security of its installations and equipment necessary for implementation of mandated tasks;
(d) Supporting the Implementation of the Agreement:
To carry out, within its capabilities, the following tasks in support of the implementation of the Agreement:
(i) To support the planning and establishment of agreed transitional security arrangements, including the establishment and operation of the Joint Operations Centre;
(ii) To support the work of a National Constitutional Amendment Committee (NCAC) and the incorporation of the Agreement into the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, upon request of the parties to the Agreement;
(iii) To support, as requested by the TGoNU, the permanent constitution-making process, consistent with the Agreement, including providing technical assistance to the National Constitutional Review Commission for the drafting process and supporting public consultations during the constitution-making process;
(iv) To assist the parties to develop a strategy to address disarmament, demobilization, reintegration (DDR) and security sector reform (SSR) activities;
(v) To participate in and support the CTSAMM in implementation of its mandate to monitor the separation, assembly and cantonment of forces consistent with the Agreement, including to provide support for mobile and dedicated fixed site security;
(vi) To actively participate in and support the work of the JMEC;
(vii) To advise, and assist the National Elections Commission, in coordination with members of the United Nations country team, consistent with the Agreement, and once the TGoNU has taken office;
(viii) To provide training support and advisory assistance, to the JIP, consistent with the HRDDP, including for the development and implementation of a training curriculum and strategic planning.
In addition, the Security Council decided that a Regional Protection Force be added to UNMISS, with the details as follow. The Security Council:
Decides further that UNMISS shall include, consistent with paragraph 7 above, a Regional Protection Force established for an initial period until 15 December 2016, which will report to the overall UNMISS Force Commander, to be based in Juba, with the responsibility of providing a secure environment in and around Juba, including in support of the outcomes of the Permanent Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Workshop, and in extremis in other parts of South Sudan as necessary, and stresses that the Regional Protection Force will carry out its mandate, as set forth in paragraph 10, impartially and in strict compliance with international law, including, as applicable, international humanitarian law;
Decides to increase the force levels of UNMISS up to a ceiling of 17,000 troops, including 4,000 for the Regional Protection Force, and requests the Secretary-General to take the necessary steps to expedite force and asset generation
About the mandate of the Regional Protection Force, the Security Council stated:
To advance in cooperation with the Transitional Government of National Unity the safety and security of the people of South Sudan and to create an enabling environment for implementation of the Agreement, authorizes the Regional Protection Force to use all necessary means, including undertaking robust action where necessary and actively patrolling, to accomplish the Regional Protection Force’s mandate, to:
- Facilitate the conditions for safe and free movement into, out of, and around Juba, including through protecting the means of ingress and egress from the city and major lines of communication and transport within Juba;
- Protect the airport to ensure the airport remains operational, and protect key facilities in Juba essential to the well-being of the people of Juba, as identified by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General;
- Promptly and effectively engage any actor that is credibly found to be preparing attacks, or engages in attacks, against United Nations protection of civilians sites, other United Nations premises, United Nations personnel, international and national humanitarian actors, or civilians.