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UK suggests a different approach to withdrawal of UN peacekeepers from PoCs.

Sep 17, 2020(Nyamilepedia)The United Kingdom, a member of the TROIKA, has offered a slightly different approach to the ongoing withdrawal of the United Nations Peacekeepers from the Protection of Civilians Site in South Sudan.

Members of Royal British troops serving in UN peacekeeping forces (Photo credit: supplied)
Members of Royal British troops serving in UN peacekeeping forces (Photo credit: supplied)

Addressing the United Nations Security Council, the British Permanent Representative to the UN, Amb. James Roscoe, suggested a civilians-focused approach as opposed to the “gradual withdrawal” of the UN Peacekeepers in South Sudan that is currently being implemented by the UNMISS.

According to the UK Representative, who is seemingly worried about the spike in violence in South Sudan, the affected communities should be consulted and the gradual withdrawal of forces should be handled by humanitarian actors in a more transparent process that prioritizes “safety and security” as opposed to the blanket “graduale withdrawal” that leaves civilians’ safety and protections in the hands of the same forces that evicted them from their residences.

“Finally, on the protection of civilians, it was incredibly worrying to hear about the spike in violence, particularly the presence of actors from outside South Sudan exacerbating the problem,” Said Amb. James Roscoe.

“The mission’s plan to re-designate PoC Sites should be implemented through close consultation with the affected communities and with humanitarian actors in a transparent process that prioritizes safety and security,” he added.

Read: United Kingdom calls on the revitalized transitional government to address the root causes of the conflict 

The UK ambassador reiterates that South Sudan government should cooperate rather than trying to inhibit UNMISS from carrying out its PoC mandates.

“As others have said, it’s also critical that South Sudan cooperate rather than inhibit UNMISS and ensure the mission can deliver its PoC mandate. I join Kristof and others saying we hope the representative of South Sudan can join us in December to give us the government’s perspective on these issues and also to hear directly the Council’s concerns and the briefings.” Amb. Roscoe said.

Amb. Roscoe was responding to a briefing by the UNMISS head, David Shearer, who doubles as the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General.

In his address, David Shearer said that civilians have reported to him that they are in protection of civilians sites to access services and not because of their safety and security.

South Sudan Women burying the deads in Malakal, South Sudan(Photo: file)Women burying the deads in Malakal, South Sudan(Photo: file)
South Sudan Women burying the deads in Malakal, South Sudan(Photo: file)

Shearer has repeatedly remarked in his media briefings that there is “no safaty concerns” and if there is, then the government of South Sudan should take over such responsibilities.

The UN Mission has started withdrawing forces in Bor and Wau, South Sudan, and it will continue to withdraw forces from all the civilians protections in attempt to transform the PoC into conventional camps.

While meeting the First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, who slightly differeed, Shearer insisted that the gradual withdrawal must proceed as he downplays the need for protections.

Like Amb. Roscoe, Dr. Machar insited that the government should be given a chance to make adequate preparations to build confidence among the IDPs so that they can voluntarily move to their private residences.

“The meeting discussed the importance of the protection of the sites until when adequate preparations are made to resettle the IDPs and voluntarily move them to their private residences or home areas.” Read part of the statement from Machar’s office.

Also read: UN Special Representative meets Dr. Machar to address withdrawal of the UN Peacekeepers

Despite that the parties signed a revitalized peace agreement on September 12, 2018, for the last two years the parties have failed to complete basic security arrangements that would have been completed within the first six months.

Two years later, both Machar and Kiirs still command seperate armies and the process of reunification is not gaining momentums.

The parties have failed to agree on a lot of major protocols and that lack of political will is dragging everything behind.

The parties are attempting to form the Revitalized Government of National Unity, train unified forces, form a revitalized legislative assemblies, incorporate the RARCISS into the constitution and begin the transitional period; however, all of these are still pending.

Despite the relative calm in major towns, the status of the peace agreement is worrying and the IDPs are still hoping that justice, peace and reconciliation will one day be restored.

The UK representative, Amb. Roscoe, hopes that South Sudan delegation will attend the UN general assembly in November and hopefully they will explain their version to the world body.

“Mr President, the South Sudanese people deserve lasting peace and stability. And we call on all parties to redouble their efforts to realise that aim in the spirit of cooperation envisaged in the 2018 Peace Agreement.” Amb. Roscoe concludes.

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