The UN Security Council on Wednesday, extended the mandate of the UN peacekeeping force in South Sudan for another year.
Resolution 2677 (2022) was adopted with 13 votes in favour- 0 against -2 abstentions (China, Russian Federation).
The United Nations Mission in South Sudan’s (UNMISS) mandate will now continue until 15 March 2024.
The Council’s resolution read:
“UNSC decides that UNMISS’s mandate is designed to advance the three-year strategic vision defined in resolution 2567 (2021) to prevent a return to civil war in South Sudan, to build durable peace at the local and national levels, and to support inclusive and accountable governance and free, fair, and peaceful elections in accordance with the Revitalised Agreement.
“Decides that UNMISS shall have the following mandate, authorizes UNMISS to use all necessary means to implement its mandate, requests the Secretary-General to inform the Security Council of any obstacles to the implementation of the mandate, and stresses that the protection of civilians shall be given priority in decisions about the use of available capacity and resources.”
The UNSC also decided to maintain the overall force levels of UNMISS with a troop ceiling of 17,000 personnel and a police ceiling of 2,101 personnel, including 88 justice and corrections advisors, and expressed readiness to consider adjustments to UNMISS force levels and capacity-building tasks based on security conditions on the ground and implementation of priority measures.
The 15-member Council also tasked UNMISS to focus on four key areas: the protection of civilians; the creation of conditions conducive to the delivery of humanitarian assistance; supporting the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement and the Peace Process; and monitoring, investigating, and reporting on violations of international humanitarian law, as well as abuses of human rights.
According to the UNSC decision, the UNMISS’s mandate is designed to advance the three-year strategic vision defined in resolution 2567 (2021) to prevent a return to civil war in South Sudan, to build durable peace at the local and national levels, and to support inclusive and accountable governance and free, fair, and peaceful elections in accordance with the Revitalized Agreement.
The Council noted that conducting free and fair elections, reflecting the will of all South Sudanese, is critical for a transition toward a stable, inclusive, democratic, and self-reliant state and called upon the government of South Sudan as well as all relevant parties to ensure an environment conducive to open political dialogue consistent with the Revitalised Agreement, which includes free and constructive political debate, freedom of opinion and expression, including for civil society, opposition parties, and members of the press.
The term of the current transitional government was initially set to expire in 2022. In August 2022, the parties to the peace agreement extended the transitional government’s time in office for another two years, meaning elections would be held in December 2024.