New York/Juba, February 11, 2017 (SSNA) — The United Nations Security Council on Friday condemned renewed fighting in South Sudan, particularly in Upper Nile and Equatoria regions. The council also strongly denounced attacks directed against civilians, saying those responsible should be punished.
“The members of the Security Council strongly condemned continued fighting across South Sudan, particularly incidents in the Equatoria and Upper Nile regions of South Sudan and called on all parties to cease hostilities immediately. The members of the Security Council also condemned in the strongest terms all attacks directed against civilians and expressed serious concern that, once again, there are reports of killing of civilians, sexual and gender-based violence, destruction of homes, ethnic violence, and looting of livestock and property,” the 15-member council said in a statement.
The UNSC also expressed concern over massive civilian displacement, adding “more than 84,000 individuals have fled South Sudan since the beginning of January and that many continue to be displaced internally.”
The UN calls all parties to the conflict to immediately cease hostilities, urges them to pursue a political process, and commit to full implementation of the peace agreement.
The Council also said it welcomed the continued and collective commitment in the search for lasting peace, security and stability expressed by the African Union (AU), the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and the United Nations (UN) during the joint consultative meeting on South Sudan in Addis Ababa on January 29, 2017, adding that UNSC members are committed to working closely with IGAD, the African Union High Representative for South Sudan Alpha Oumar Konare, the Chairperson of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission Festus Mogae, and the UN Secretary-General in support of the South Sudan peace process.
The United Nations commends UNMISS’s for carrying out its mandate and expressed deep concern that UN Mission in South Sudan continues to face obstacles from South Sudanese government hindering the ability of UNMISS to carry out its mandate to protect civilians. The Council reminded the Transitional Government of National Unity of its commitment in the September 4, 2016, Joint Communique to permit freedom of movement of UNMISS and expressed deep disappointment that the Transitional Government of National Unity continues to act inconsistently with this commitment and its obligations under the Status of Forces Agreement with the United Nations.
At the meeting, the Security Council warned that targeting civilians may constitute war crimes and those involved could be subject to sanctions as authorized under resolution 2206(2015) for actions that threaten the peace, security or stability of South Sudan.