Report of the Secretary-General on South Sudan (covering the period from 15 November 2017 to 16 February 2018) (S/2018/163) [EN/AR]
- The present report is submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 2392 (2017), by which the Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) until 15 March 2018, and in accordance with prior resolutions in which the Council requested me to report on the implementation of the mandate every 90 days. It covers political and security developments from 15 November 2017 to 16 February 2018, the humanitarian situation, and progress in the implementation of the Mission mandate. It also provides a review of progress made by the parties in ceasing hostilities, returning to the path of dialogue and achieving inclusiveness within the Government.
II. Political and economic developments
- The period under review saw the revival of the political process with the holding of two sessions of the high-level revitalization forum of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the signing of the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities, Protection of Civilians and Humanitarian Access. Meanwhile, inside South Sudan, the national dialogue that the Government launched in May 2017 has continued with further grass-roots consultations. The economy has remained stagnant, with few signs of the improvements in the public and private sectors that are needed to ease the chronic poverty and hardship that affect the majority of the South Sudanese population.
Peace agreement revitalization forum
On 28 November, the IGAD Council of Ministers issued a communiqué in the run-up to the first session of the IGAD revitalization forum, in which it endorsed the report of the IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan, Ismail Wais, on his pre -forum consultations with South Sudanese stakeholders. The report of the IGAD Special Envoy summarized potential options to address contentious issues, such as transitional government arrangements, state administrative restructuring and the legislature. On 17 December, the Government restated its view that the forum should not be a renegotiation of the 2015 peace agreement. In a press release issued on 18 December, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) in Opposition repeated its view that the peace agreement had collapsed following the events in Juba in July 2016.
On 18 December, the IGAD Council of Ministers opened the forum, urging the parties to commit to immediately silencing the guns through agreement on a cessation of hostilities. From 18 to 21 December in Addis Ababa, IGAD convened the first phase of the high-level forum on the revitalization of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan of August 2015 (hereinafter referred to as the peace agreement). On 21 December, 14 parties signed the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities, Protection of Civilians and Humanitarian Access, with representatives of South Sudanese stakeholders, IGAD and the African Union signing as guarantors and the IGAD mediators and international partners as witnesses. The signatory parties included the Transitional Government of National Unity, SPLM/A in Opposition, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) “Former Detainees”, the National Salvation Front and 10 other opposition movements and parties.
Since the new cessation of hostilities agreement came into force on 24 December, it has been subject to a number of verified and claimed violations. On 15 January, the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism reported to the IGAD Council of Ministers and the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission that Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) forces south of Mundri had violated the agreement by way of actions carried out between 22 December 2017 and 8 January 2018, and that pro-Machar SPLA in Opposition forces had violated the agreement by way of actions carried out in Koch on 24 December. Reports of alleged violations have continued up to the time of reporting, indicating that key parties are not fulfilling their commitments under the agreement. Meanwhile, the parties themselves have made claims and counterclaims of alleged violations, adding further pressure on the Mechanism’s monitoring and verification teams to verify reported violations.
On 12 January, the Chair of the African Union Commission and I issued a joint statement condemning violations of the cessation of hostilities agreement and voicing our firm view that there must be consequences for parties violating the agreement. The troika of Norway, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America similarly issued a statement on 12 January condemning the continuing pattern of violations and stating their readiness to hold those responsible to account and to impose measures on those who violated the agreement. On 25 January, the IGAD Council of Ministers requested all parties to investigate and report within one month on violations and cases of sexual and gender-based violence and recruitment and use of children, and to identify the individuals responsible. Concern about the issue was echoed in statements by the European Union and the troika on 26 and 29 January, respectively. On 27 January, the African Union, IGAD and the United Nations jointly condemned and called for accountability for violations of the cessation of hostilities agreement and rejected threats directed towards the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism. On the same day, the IGAD Council of Ministers issued a communiqué in which it endorsed the Mechanism’s verified violation reports and reaffirmed its commitment to take appropriate action, including targeted sanctions, against those violating the agreement.
The second session of the forum began in Addis Ababa on 5 February, with participation from all South Sudanese parties and stakeholder groups. Discussions were focused on measures to revitalize chapter I (on the Transitional Government of National Unity) and chapter II (on the permanent ceasefire and transitional security arrangements) of the peace agreement. The second session of the forum concluded on 16 February with limited progress towards achieving the objectives set out by the IGAD mediation and with no date agreed for the next phase. However, the South Sudanese parties issued statements reiterating their commitment to the process and initialled the revised articles in chapters I and II, on which they had reached consensus. Prior to the start of the forum, a coalition of 44 women’s organizations called for a comprehensive increase in women’s participation in peace processes and governance and security leadership positions in South Sudan.