UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres has criticized the implementation of the South Sudan peace deal.
In a report from Thursday, 7 March 2019, covering 1 December 2018 to 26 February 2019 the UN scribe said the implementation of the deal continues to face delays while timelines and benchmarks in the accord remain largely unmet more than halfway into the pre-transitional period.
“However, some positive momentum was generated with the return to Juba of senior opposition leaders to participate in the various institutions and mechanisms established under the agreement, which was essential to generate trust,” said Antonio Guterres in the report on South Sudan.
South Sudan’s arch-foes signed a peace deal last year to end a civil war that killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions.
A new unity government is expected to assume power in May 2019 before elections are held three years later.
Guterres, in his report to the Security Council, acknowledged that a ceasefire in South Sudan is largely holding and violence among signatories to the September 2018 peace accord has decreased.
He, however, said violent clashes still continue in some parts of the country, which indicates that the situation remains fragile.
“Violence involving the parties and non-signatory groups, intercommunal violence and criminality continue to affect the civilian population in general, and particularly women and girls,” he said.
The top UN official further expressed deep concerns about what he described as the “unacceptable” levels of conflict-related sexual violence in the country, citing cases of rape reported in Bentiu area.
“I call on the government to spare no effort in bringing to justice those found to be responsible for these crimes, and to take enhanced action to protect civilians and decisively reduce the levels of intercommunal violence and human rights violations, including grave and targeted attacks against women and girls,” he said.
The Secretary General proposed that the mandate of UN peacekeeping force in South Sudan be renewed for one year and strengthened to allow support for implementation of the peace process and provide technical assistance for peace building priorities.
Meanwhile Guterres said the humanitarian situation in the country remains of serious concern and is a direct consequence of the conflict, adding that the gains under the revitalized agreement are yet to translate into improvements in the humanitarian situation.
According to the United Nations, a total of 1.87 million people remain internally displaced and 2.27 million are displaced to neighbouring countries.