UNMISS to support first years of independence, SRSG says

25 Nov 2011

UNMISS to support first years of independence, SRSG says

23 November 2011 - The role of UNMISS was to support South Sudan in its first years as an independent country in meeting political, protection and rule of law challenges, the head of the mission said today in Juba.

Speaking to members of the South Sudan Police Services, Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) Hilde F. Johnson stressed that UNMISS was a new mission with a new approach.

She said it would assist in consolidating peace and security to strengthen the state's capacity and establish conditions for development as well as rule of law. "And in this way lay the foundation for long-term development."

Among UNMISS' mandated tasks was to strengthen the capacity of the South Sudan Police Service, Ms. Johnson said. "We have been asked to develop a justice system and help you in doing that."

The mission was also assisting with peace building, the SRSG said, and its several components -- security sector reform, which was related to police development, the rule of law and justice sectors, human rights, early recovery and development.

"We are providing expertise and advice and that is why we have many UN Police here. UNMISS has been asked to exercise good offices and facilitate conflict mitigation and resolution both at national, state and county levels."

UNMISS had been asked to establish a mission-wide early warning capacity, so it would know in advance of any possible conflicts, Ms. Johnson said.

While the mission was also tasked with deterring violence and protecting civilians, the primary responsible actor in protecting civilians was the state, the government, the SPLA (Sudan People's Liberation Army), and police, she said. "But we are also mandated to take action with force protection on our side."

The mission had a strong human rights mandate and was set to monitor, investigate, verify and report on human right, said the SRSG. "This means that we will have human rights offices in your states and in several counties and they will have to monitor the situation on the ground. If something happens, they are obliged to report on it."

Also critical was support UNMISS would give to the integration of rebel militia groups, Mr. Johnson said. "We have done that with several of the militia groups like David Yauyau, the late Galwak Gai and we are also now hoping to assist more of the Peter Gadet situation."

In addition, the mission had been asked to assist with the national DDR (Disarmament Demobilization and Reintegration) programme as well as de-mining, the SRSG said.