UNMISS: Keep focus in South Sudan peace process

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The head of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has appealed for the international community to remain focused on the country’s crisis as a tentative peace process continues to falter.

Despite gradual progress in implementing South Sudan’s 2018 peace agreement, including the formation of a transitional government, UNMISS chief David Shearer warns that progress on unifying the security forces has stalled, which is a key benchmark in preventing further outbreaks of violence.

UNMISS calls for continued attention

“Momentum in South Sudan’s peace process is linked to the strength of international engagement,” David Shearer told the UN Security Council via a virtual meeting on Tuesday. “However, attention by member states in the Horn is understandably directed elsewhere, contributing to the sense of drift that people are frequently remarking upon. Nevertheless, collectively, we still need to remain focused on South Sudan and guide the peace implementation.”

With the world currently battling against the coronavirus pandemic, Shearer warns that reduced attention on the situation in South Sudan could have catastrophic consequences for the country and the Horn of Africa region.

Every stage of South Sudan’s peace process has missed key deadlines with rival leaders continuing to argue over key terms and implementation. Each holdup is an additional risk that conflict could erupt in a country where several peace deals have previously failed to hold.

Speaking to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, Shearer also highlighted concerns that millions of people in South Sudan also face severe food insecurity, driven by continued violence in parts of the country. He did acknowledge that progress had been made in 2020 and violence, overall, has dropped but isolated clashes and the threat of the upcoming dry season put millions of people in danger.

Featured image: “UNMISS SRSG, David Shearer, hold press conference in Juba” flickr photo by UNMISS MEDIA https://flickr.com/photos/unmissmultimedia/40214611910 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.