Swedish Statement at the UN Security Council Briefing on the United Nations Mission in South Sudan
National statement delivered by Ambassador Carl Skau on behalf of Sweden at the United Nations Security Council Briefing on the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), 18 September 2018, New York.
Thank you, Mr. President,
I would like to thank Under-Secretary-General Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Special Envoy of the Secretary General Nicolas Haysom and Special Envoy Ismael Wais for their briefings today. Let me also extend a particular word of thanks to Ms. Grace John for her briefing. We heard you loud and clear, including your call to urgently enforce the ceasefire, to put an end to impunity and ensure accountability, and to continue promoting women’s meaningful participation. I can assure you, that we will do our utmost to follow through on your calls.
I would like to start by commending IGAD and the facilitators of the High-Level Revitalization Forum process, in particular the Government of Sudan and Special Envoy Wais. Their tireless efforts over the past months, with the backing of a coherent region, have been instrumental for reaching this agreement. I also acknowledge the efforts of the South Sudanese for the progress made and for having demonstrated necessary flexibility and willingness to compromise.
But the agreement is only a first step. What is needed now is clear political will of the parties to implement what has been agreed in an inclusive manner and to engage in genuine peacebuilding and reconciliation activities.
While we welcome reduced levels of fighting in recent weeks, we are also deeply concerned about reports of continued military operations. A complete cessation of hostilities by all parties, the Government and armed groups alike, is urgent, and must be unconditional. There must be consequences for violations of the cessation of hostilities agreement, as well as against those who stand in the way of the full implementation of the peace agreement.
We encourage the region, supported by the international community, to maintain its active engagement and continue to play a proactive role. The region’s involvement in monitoring the implementation of the agreement and holding the parties to account will now be especially important. It is also vital that this Council continues to support these regional effort, making sure that we speak with one voice.
The spirit of inclusivity which has been a crucial element of the revitalization forum must now be maintained in the coming implementation phase. The quest for peace will only be viable if it includes all stakeholders. We must continue to assure the effective participation of youth, women and civil society. Gender equality is central to peace and security and we should support further efforts to increase the political representation of women.
An important priority as we move forward will also be to advance accountability and transitional justice mechanisms, including through establishing the envisaged Hybrid Court without further delay. Impunity for human rights violations and abuses and violations of international humanitarian law, not least acts of sexual violence targeting women and girls, cannot be accepted. The continued high level of conflict-related sexual violence, as highlighted by the Secretary-Generals report, is truly appalling. Continued monitoring and reporting of such crimes will remain important.
We also remain strongly concerned with the humanitarian situation, resulting directly and indirectly from this conflict. Rapid, safe, and unhindered delivery of humanitarian relief across South Sudan must be assured. In this context we again commend UNMISS for its efforts to reach areas critical to addressing protection concerns, as well as its preparedness to now support the parties in taking further steps on the path towards peace.
It is worrisome that violations of the Status-of-Forces Agreement continue. The denial of access and restrictions of movement remain unacceptable. UNMISS has to be able to carry out its mandated tasks, including to monitor and investigate the human rights situation and to protect civilians.
The millions of South Sudanese caught up in this brutal and futile war have waited for over four years for an end to the conflict and an opportunity to start rebuilding their lives and their country. The Agreement reached last week provides a unique opportunity for peace, reconciliation and recovery.
This is not a moment for euphoria, nor can we afford an attitude of cynicism. And as Mr. Haysom said, we cannot allow the perfect to become the enemy of the good. We must remain focused; all parties must stay the course and seize this opportunity. The continuous efforts of IGAD and the African Union will need our full support. The current momentum must not be lost.
I thank you, Mr. President.