15 September 2023
I thank SRSG Haysom and Director of OCHA Wousumi for their informative briefings.
I also thank Ms Racheal Juan for giving us a clear picture of the challenges on the ground – from the ongoing violence to the shrinking civic space.
As the Secretary-General highlighted, “South Sudan is at a defining moment in its history” with its first-ever general election planned since independence.
We commend UNMISS for their leadership and the electoral assistance provided to South Sudan.
However, the limited progress on the implementation of the roadmap is concerning. Many provisions necessary for elections, including a permanent constitution, are still outstanding!
We encourage the Transitional Government of South Sudan to focus on advancing the electoral process and reach agreement on key provisions.
We welcome the formation of the Government-Trilateral Joint Task Force, providing a positive step towards strengthening national ownership.
As we heard today, civil space is shrinking. The Government must ensure an inclusive civic and political space to hold free, fair, and credible elections.
Gender provisions must be implemented, as required by the Revitalized Agreement. While also ensuring the full, equal, and meaningful participation of women and youth.
The implications from the conflict in neighbouring Sudan cannot be understated. South Sudan has seen an influx of weapons and received around 250,000 refugees – putting further strains on its already fragile and protracted humanitarian crisis.
We are deeply concerned that these factors are contributed to rising tensions and violence. It is imperative that South Sudanese leaders do not lose focus on addressing their own challenges.
We welcome the Government’s announcement to advance the transitional security arrangements – however, action is now required.
Forces must be deployed with adequate resources, command and control structures resolved, and Phase 2 enacted. All critical to holding safe and credible elections.
Intercommunal violence and sexual violence have continued to persist in parts of the country. The lack of protection for civilians and humanitarian workers remains a key concern.
We remind the Government that the primary responsibility to protect, lies with them and call for accountability measures to fight impunity.
South Sudan continues to remain among the most climate-vulnerable countries in the world, as emphasized in the Joint Press-stake out on CPS before this meeting.
Climate induced shocks, tensions over resources, and increased humanitarian needs have led to displacement, with women and girls being the most vulnerable.
We commend UNMISS for supporting South Sudan in addressing the complex and challenges it faces, from climate resilience to the rule of law.
During this critical phase, South Sudan’s progress toward holding credible elections in 2024 hinges upon a resolute surge in political determination and unwavering commitment.
The people of South Sudan rightfully deserve the opportunity to express their will at the ballot box.