Statement by Mr Sven Jürgenson, Permanent Rrepresentative of Estonia
I thank the Special Representative of the Secretary General Mr. David Shearer and Ms. Betty Sunday for their briefings and the people of UNMISS for their tremendous work in South Sudan.
Estonia welcomes the encouraging developments in South Sudan’s peace process, including the ongoing talks to form a Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity. We are hopeful that the parties will come to an agreement. The leaders must understand – this is not a zero-sum game.
Estonia welcomes the signing of the Comprehensive Action Plan to end and prevent all grave violations against children. We would like to thank UNMISS and UNICEF for supporting this process. However, there are about 19 000 children in the ranks of the SSPDF and armed opposition groups according to the February 2020 Report of the Commission on Human Rights. We call upon all the signatories for a swift and full implementation of the action plan. It is up to them to make it a success; the South Sudanese people deserve it.
We understand that moving towards a unity government is only a first step, much remains to be done. Continued political will is required to move forward with peacebuilding and reconciliation between the parties, especially considering the unification of forces. Cooperation is the only reasonable way forward.
We are very disturbed by the dire humanitarian situation in the country. An estimated 7.5 million South Sudanese will remain in need of humanitarian assistance this year. More than 3.5 million persons remain forcibly displaced as security concerns and multiple other reasons continue to prevent them returning to their homes.
Combating sexual and gender-based violence has to remain a priority. It is very important to tackle the culture of impunity. We welcome the headway that has been made with the mobile courts, and encourage UNMISS to continue these efforts. We also support placing perpetrators of human rights violations under sanctions, and encourage the work of the Panel of Experts in this regard.
We would like to stress the importance of full, effective, and meaningful participation of women in all spheres and levels of political leadership, the peace process, and pre-transitional and transitional government.
Estonia is concerned by the continuing intercommunal violence that has had a devastating impact on the civilian population. The primary responsibility for a state is to protect its citizens. In the last 3 months, the UNMISS had been unable to act upon the violence on at least 46 occasions, because of the movement restrictions by the previous government. We call the leaders of South Sudan to deal with the violations of the Status-of-Forces Agreement.
I wish that the current leaders find more common ground and turn the lives of South Sudanese people around, in the most positive way possible.
I thank you, Mr President