We must bring what is happening in Belarus to the world’s attention and hear from those on the ground. Briefers on #BYHumanRights: UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus, Anaïs Marin; Belarusian opposition presidential candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya; Vice-Chairman of the Viasna Human Rights Center, Valiantsin Stefanovic; Legal Expert for the Belarusian Association of Journalists, Volha Siakhovich. The meeting is chaired by Urmas Reinsalu, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia. The meeting was initiated by Estonia and co-sponsored by UN Security Council members the United States and United Kingdom, as well as Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Ukraine.

Statement by Ambassador S. Jürgeson at UN Security Council VTC meeting on South Sudan (UNMISS)

Mister President,

I thank Mr David Shearer, Mr Mark Lowcock and Ms Rambang Tai for their briefing.

Two years ago, we witnessed the signing of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan. Unfortunately, we are still far from a satisfactory situation. Despite forming a transitional government in February this year, the full implementation of military unification and government institutions is totally behind schedule. In June we welcomed the compromise reached by President Kiir and First Vice President Machar on the allocation of states. We were hoping for a new momentum, which would help resolve the slow movement on transitional security arrangements and ideally bring the country closer to implementing the peace agreement wholly. This, sadly, has not materialized. We urge President Kiir and First Vice President Machar to come to an agreement on the governor of Upper Nile and finally move to other pressing issues.

We remain very concerned about the increase in intercommunal violence, which has been much higher now than last year during the same period. The ceasefire between the parties to the agreement continues to hold, which is the biggest positive for us, but if the ongoing sub-national violence continues, things might take a turn for the worse, possibly leading to a humanitarian catastrophe, when we add the pandemic and floods to it. It is saddening to see that high-ranking politicians and military commanders are also fuelling this violence. The current situation gives us a timely reminder about the necessity of the sanctions and the territorial arms embargo.

We truly hope that the South Sudanese authorities continue to prosecute and sentence members of the security forces to terms of imprisonment for serious crimes, including sexual violence. It is unacceptable that individuals, who have committed grave human rights violations to be appointed to political office without any form of accountability. Attacks against civilian population cannot be rewarded with various positions in the office. Impunity must stop.

The overall humanitarian situation in the country remains dire, which has gone worse due to the pandemic. During the rainy season the humanitarian situation becomes more problematic, which is why the government of South Sudan must do everything in their power to help the citizens. This requires keeping the humanitarian assistance and protection flowing, which, during the floods, is a question of life and death. The pandemic should not be used as a pretext to curb UNMISS’ mandate implementation or slow down the implementation of the peace agreement. It is equally sad to see that SOFA violations continue.

While being supportive of UNMISS’ efforts to adjust its force posture by re-designating the POC sites, we emphasize the necessity of ensuring a safe and a voluntary return and relocation of displaced people currently in a POC site.

Last, but not least, I want to thank the UNMISS personnel and Mr David Shearer for all their work in a very testing environment.

I thank you, Mister President