UN: “talking about the Revitalised Peace Agreement. But let’s be honest – it’s far from revitalised”

Sep 25, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — Briefing the Human Rights Council in Geneva, the Chairperson of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, Yasmin Sooka, regrets that the Revitalized Peace Agreement is not yet revitalized.

Dr. Riek Machar Teny, Chairman and Commander-in-Chief of the SPLM/A(IO) sworn in under President Salva Kiir to serve the position of the First Vice President one more time(Photo credit: file/Nyamilepedia)

Dr. Riek Machar Teny, Chairman and Commander-in-Chief of the SPLM/A(IO) sworn in under President Salva Kiir to serve the position of the First Vice President one more time(Photo credit: file/Nyamilepedia)

Like many independent observers, Sooka noted that the key areas of the peace agreement are not being implemented and therefore she believes that the ARCISS cannot be said to have been revitalized.

“Madame President, every year I find myself talking about the Revitalised Peace Agreement. But let’s be honest – it’s far from revitalised. Implementation of key areas has stalled, particularly around security sector reform.” Yasmin Sooka said.

Although she believes that while COVID-19 may take some blame for lack of implementation, the lack of implementation should be blamed for escalation of violence in many parts of the country.

“While the COVID-19 pandemic can take some of the blame, the lack of progress poses a threat to the peace process. This is clear in the escalation in violence in Central Equatoria, Jonglei, Lakes, Unity, Western Bahr el-Ghazal, and Warrap States, and the Greater Pibor Administrative Area.” Sooka said.

According to Sooka, the parties do not obey the ceasefire in the Equatorian region and that has fuelled violence there and displaced many civilians.

“A breakdown in the ceasefire with armed groups in the Equatorias has fuelled the violence and already displaced thousands of South Sudanese civilians.” She said.

The Chairperson of the U.N. Mission on Human Rights, said the man-made conflict and corruption did not only make South Sudan run out of foreign exchange but also the South Sudanese Pound is losing its value.

“Battered by conflict and corruption, South Sudan has now simply run out of foreign exchange and is unable to prevent the depreciation of their pound. The situation is compounded by the system of dual exchange rates which is abused by political elites who access hard currency at discounted rates, while hyperinflation and the COVID-19 pandemic have deepened poverty for the civilian population. The black-market inflation rates have reached 20+ per cent in just two months.” The Chairperson, Yasmin Sooka explained to the Council.

Sooka also regrets that if restrictions on the importation of food continue, and food prices continue to shoot up, then there will a possibility of food-related riots or other forms of social unrest.

Sooka calls on member states of the U.N. Human Rights Council, AU and IGAD to start holding the South Sudanese leaders to account for the international crimes they are committing.

“The lack of accountability for the serious international crimes being committed demands the attention of Member States of this Council. The African Union and IGAD urgently need to ensure Chapter V of the Revitalised Peace Agreement is implemented and ensure the necessary legislation for establishing the Hybrid Court and the Commission on Truth, Reconciliation, and Healing is enacted, so that the full range of transitional justice measures can be realised. Without this, the cycle of destruction and impunity will not be broken.” Sooka added.

The Chair also spoke about corruption and other major crimes that are fueling the South Sudanese conflict.

Also read: UN: $36 millions embezzled in South Sudan in the last 4 years

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