March 15, 2023 (NEW YORK) – The United Nations Security Council has extended the mandate of its peacekeeping force in South Sudan (UNMISS) for another year.
Resolution 2677 (2022), adopted with 13 votes in favour, extended the mandate of the peacekeeping mission in the world’s newest nation until March 15, 2024.
“By the text, the Council mandated UNMISS to carry out tasks in four key areas — protection of civilians; creation of conditions conducive to the delivery of humanitarian assistance; support for the implementation of the Revised Agreement and the Peace Process; and the monitoring, investigating, and reporting on violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights — while requesting the Secretary-General to inform it of any obstacles and stressing that the protection of civilians shall be given priority,” partly reads the resolution extended to Sudan Tribune Wednesday
The Security Council also decided to maintain the overall force levels of UNMISS with a troop ceiling of 17,000 personnel and a police ceiling of 2,101 personnel, including 88 justice and corrections advisors, and expressed readiness to consider adjustments to UNMISS force levels and capacity-building tasks based on security conditions on the ground and implementation of priority measures.
The 15-member Council also tasked UNMISS to focus on four key areas: the protection of civilians; the creation of conditions conducive to the delivery of humanitarian assistance; supporting the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement and the Peace Process; and monitoring, investigating, and reporting on violations of international humanitarian law, as well as abuses of human rights
According to the UNSC decision, the UNMISS’s mandate is designed to advance the three-year strategic vision defined in resolution 2567 (2021) to prevent a return to civil war in South Sudan, to build durable peace at the local and national levels, and to support inclusive and accountable governance and free, fair, and peaceful elections in accordance with the September 2018 peace agreement.
The Council urged all parties to the conflict and other armed actors immediately end the fighting throughout South Sudan and engage in political dialogue and expressed deep concern about the delays in implementing the peace deal.
The 15-member Council stressed the need for free and fair elections, urging the government of South Sudan and all relevant parties to ensure an environment conducive to open political dialogue consistent with the peace deal, which includes free and constructive political debate, freedom of opinion and expression, including for civil society, opposition parties and members of the press
The Council also demanded freedom of peaceful assembly, equitable access to media, including state media, the security of all political actors, freedom of movement for all candidates, as well as for the presence of domestic and international election observers and witnesses, journalists, human rights civil society activists, including women, which can help lead to free and fair elections.