UNMISS mandate to protect civilians and build durable peace renewed until March 2021
The United Nations Security Council has renewed the mandate requiring peacekeepers serving in South Sudan to protect civilians and build durable peace in the war-damaged country until at least 15 March 2021.
In a unanimous Resolution, members of the Security Council welcomed “encouraging developments” in South Sudan’s peace process including the demonstration of political will by the parties and the reduction in political violence.
The Council called on all parties to the conflict to fully implement the revitalized peace agreement, signed in September 2018, and to establish their various institutions without delay. The new transitional government was formed three weeks’ ago, and the ministerial appointments were announced by the President yesterday.
The new Resolution prioritizes UNMISS support for the implementation of the peace agreement and the peace process more broadly. It requires the Mission to use its “good offices’’ to carry out this work, including providing advice or technical assistance.
The Council notes that the peace process going forward is only viable if the parties are fully committed and if civil society, women and youth are included. It intends to keep the tasks and composition of the peacekeeping mission under “active review” based on progress with the peace process and implementation of the agreement.
The Security Council maintained overall limits on military and police personnel at 17,000 and 2,101 respectively. It requested UNMISS to ensure its troops are mobile and proactive in responding to emerging risks and threats to civilians, including in remote locations, as well as assisting with providing a safe environment for displaced families returning home.
The number of UNMISS civilian personnel currently stands at about 2,676. There are 1,888 police and 14,911 military personnel. The Council noted its readiness to consider making adjustments to staffing in order to match security conditions on the ground. It authorized UNMISS to use “all necessary means” to perform its duties.
The Mission is required to protect civilians under threat of physical violence within its capacity and areas of deployment, specifically women and children. It must also proactively deploy troops and conduct patrols to deter violence against civilians, particularly those who are displaced. Safety and security must be maintained at the peacekeeping mission's Protection of Civilians sites and the deterrence and prevention of sexual and gender-based violence is a priority.
The peacekeeping mission is also required to foster a safe environment for the return, relocation, resettlement or integration into host communities of internally displaced families and refugees.
Other duties include monitoring, investigating, verifying and reporting on abuses and violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.
The Council expressed “urgent concern” at the humanitarian situation including the displacement of nearly 3.9 million people, the 5.3 million people facing severe food insecurity and 7.2 million in need of life-saving assistance. UNMISS is tasked with contributing to the safe delivery of humanitarian assistance to those in need.