South Sudan

Situation in South Sudan - Report of the Secretary-General (S/2021/1015) [EN/AR]


I. Introduction

1. The present report is submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 2567 (2021), by which the Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to 15 March 2022 and requested the Secretary-General to report on the implementation of the Mission’s mandate every 90 days. The report covers political and security developments, the humanitarian and human rights situation and progress towards the implementation of the Mission’s mandate from 1 September 2021 to 30 November 2021.

2. The Mission continues to implement the three-year strategic vision as requested by the Security Council in its resolution 2567 (2021). In this connection, the Mission is moving into a new phase of political engagement. Furthermore, with the successful transition of four out of the five protection of civilian sites, UNMISS enhanced its focus on hotspots throughout the country where the protection needs are the greatest, and on stabilization, outreach and political engagement, while recalibrating capacities and resources between the Mission components towards increased mobility, partnerships, coordination and innovation.

II. Major political developments

3. Since its reconstitution on 30 August, the Transitional National Legislative Assembly has made minimal progress owing to delays in the formation of various specialized committees as a result of disagreements among the parties on the structure and composition of the committees. This has hampered legislative oversight and delayed the passage of critical legislation.

4. After a significant delay, the President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, reconstituted and appointed members of the State assemblies in Central Equatoria, Lakes, Upper Nile and Western Equatoria States on 6 November, in Eastern Equatoria, Warrap,
Jonglei and Northern Bahr el-Ghazal States on 17 November and in Unity on 26 November. The State assembly in Western Bahr el-Ghazal is yet to be reconstituted.

5. Following President Kiir’s intervention on 16 September, the disagreement among the Other Political Parties coalition over how to divide its parliamentary seats was resolved. Subsequently, on 17 September, President Kiir appointed 28 members of the coalition to the Transitional National Legislative Assembly and 8 to the Council of States.

6. On 18 October, the Council of Ministers reviewed and adopted the Constitution-Making Process Bill 2020/2021. Once the reconstituted Transitional National Legislative Assembly is fully operational, the bill will be debated and is expected to guide the permanent constitution-making process. On 18 October, the Assembly passed the Conduct of Business Regulations 2011 (as amended in 2021).

7. Addressing the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) National Youth League meeting in Juba on 11 September, President Kiir stressed that the end goal was to conduct free, fair and credible democratic elections and called on youth to prepare for peaceful campaigns and engage at the grass-roots level.

Implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan

8. On 12 September, South Sudan marked three years since the signing of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan. The international community, religious leaders and members of civil society expressed concern over the delays and missed deadlines in the implementation of the Agreement, especially in the implementation of provisions related to the transitional security arrangements.

9. On 7 October, the presidency met with the chairs of the security mechanisms and discussed security-related issues in the Revitalized Agreement, including the graduation of the Necessary Unified Forces. To date, despite numerous reassurances that the establishment of a single, unified command structure was imminent, no tangible progress has been achieved. UNMISS has been requested to assist in transporting audit teams to the 18 training centres, a preliminary step before unification. The Mission has agreed to assist but the visits have yet to start.

10. On 28 October, the 19th meeting of the reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission raised concerns about the lack of progress in the implementation of the transitional security arrangements, especially the unification of forces and their deployment, and the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process. The Commission called on the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity to expedite the approval of the critical bills and make financial resources available to complete the transitional security arrangements.

11. Addressing the governors’ forum held on 29 November, President Kiir associated the delays in the implementation of the transitional security arrangements with the arms embargo against South Sudan and the continued disagreement over the command-and-control structure and share ratios of the Necessary Unified Forces. He called on the Community of Sant’ Egidio to resume the Rome peace talks with the non-signatory parties.

Split in the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-Army in Opposition

12. On 19 September, President Kiir announced that he had authorized his Presidential Adviser on National Security, Tut Gatluak, to negotiate with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-Army in Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) Kitgwang faction. On 22 September, a Kitgwang faction leader, General Simon Gatwech Dual, confirmed the group’s readiness to engage in a negotiation with the Government or the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). Subsequently, on 2 October, under the auspices of the Government of the Sudan, the Kitgwang faction leaders, General Gatwech and General Johnson Olony, met with a delegation of SPLM led by Tut Gatluak in Khartoum. The meeting confirmed the readiness of the Kitgwang faction to participate in the next round of formal talks with the Government under the mediation of IGAD. On 3 October, the Kitgwang faction published its position paper for the talks, in which it called for the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement, especially the transitional security arrangements. Civil society groups welcomed this development as a pathway for resolving political grievances within the opposition and a positive move towards the implementation of the Agreement.

13. Subsequently, SPLM/A-IO stated that the meeting between SPLM and the Kitgwang faction had violated the terms of the Revitalized Agreement, which prohibited the switching of allegiances. It alleged that one of the parties to the Agreement had been encouraging defection from the opposition to weaken and undermine the implementation of the Agreement.

14. While the talks between SPLM and the Kitgwang faction have been delayed due to political unrest in the Sudan, General Gatwech has rejected the SPLM proposal to move the talks to Juba. General Gatwech was reported to have returned to Megeinis on 8 November.

Regional developments

15. On 10 and 11 October, President Kiir made an official visit to Egypt, during which South Sudan and Egypt signed several agreements on irrigation, trade and industry.

16. Following the military coup d’état in the Sudan on 25 October, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation issued a statement affirming the country’s solidarity with and unwavering support for the Sudan. The statement expressed confidence that Sudanese leaders would make the best decisions for their people. On 31 October, the Ministry indicated that Tut Gatluak had travelled to Khartoum to deliver a message from President Kiir urging the Sudanese leaders to resolve their differences through dialogue.

Economic situation

17. The macroeconomic situation remained stable, including the foreign exchange rate, which remained at about 400 South Sudanese pounds per United States of America dollar. Despite the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, trading throughout the country saw some recovery. The decade-long closure of the border with the Sudan had been scheduled to come to an end on 1 October, but its reopening was delayed due to the security situation in the Sudan.

18. The approval of the national budget for 2021/22 and the launch of the revised national development strategy were delayed. Challenges continued, as commercial debt and oil advances constitute about 65 per cent of the country’s public debt. To sustain economic recovery, the Government will need to continue with the public finance reforms already initiated and the implementation of the public finance management reform strategy.