South Sudan

Security Council extends UNMISS, prioritizes civilian protection

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The Security Council today extended UNMISS and revised its mandate to focus on protecting civilians and tackling the security, humanitarian and political crisis that has gripped the nation for the past six months.

In a unanimously adopted resolution, the Council decided to extend the mission until 30 November 2014. It authorized UNMISS to use “all necessary means” to protect civilians, monitor and investigate human rights, create conditions for delivery of humanitarian assistance, and support the cessation of hostilities agreement.

The Council requested the mission to focus and streamline its activities across military, police and civilian components to progress on the above tasks and recognized that “certain mission tasks will therefore be ceased”.

The authorized troop and police strengths of the mission will remain 12,500 and 1,323, respectively, as was decided by the Council in late December 2013, after political infighting between President Salva Kiir and former Vice-President Riek Machar turned into a full-fledged conflict that has uprooted over one million people.

At the same time, the Council today endorsed recommendations made by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a recent report to increase overall force levels of UNMISS to support its restructured mandate.

It requested Mr. Ban to review needs on the ground, and provide an updated assessment of the force’s operations, deployment and future requirements 120 days after adoption of the resolution.

In line with its mandate, UNMISS has been protecting between 75,000 and 80,000 civilians seeking safety at its bases around the country since the violence began. In today’s resolution, the Council emphasized that protection of civilians must be given priority in decisions about use of available capacity and resources within the mission.

The Council also condemned “in the strongest terms” attacks on and threats made to UNMISS personnel and UN facilities, including violations of the Status of Forces Agreement, and stressed that such attacks may constitute war crimes.