3 July 2012

South Sudan: UNMISS Fell Short of Its Mandate, Says Civil Society Group

Juba — A South Sudanese civil society organization has accused the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) of having done very little, as required by Chapter VII of the UN Charter, to make citizens fully understand their mandate in the country.

Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO), in a press briefing on Tuesday, specifically cited the protection of civilian population role of UNMISS and the limitations of the UN body as some of the puzzling issues that need to be clearly spelt out in latter's new mandate.

"...the citizens are asking continuous questions such as why is UNMISS allowing Sudan Army forces to kill/attack the citizens of South Sudan? What exactly is the meaning of protection of civilian population? Why is UNMISS far from doing sustainable development initiatives? What is meant by UNMISS operating in integration with other UN agencies?" Edmund Yakani, CEPO's Coordinator asked.

The organization comes days before South Sudan marks its first independence anniversary due on 09 July, during which the mandate of UNMISS, which formally end on that day, will have to be renewed.

Last month, South Sudan President, Salva Kiir told lawmakers that his office, under the leadership of the Vice-President, Riek Machar, who spearheaded the review of the UN mandate in South Sudan, had concluded its work.

"After a careful study, we have submitted official recommendation to the UN Security Council on how we would like the mandate to be refocused upon its renewal, including a serious review of the Chapter Seven," Kiir told MPs during the opening of the National Assembly.

Yakani, however, credited UNMISS for supporting South Sudan government in strengthening rule of law institutions, policing services, human rights and the security sector, but urged the organization to embarks on follow-up mechanism to access the impacts of their capacity building trainings conducted in society.

"UNMISS is witnessed in applying approach of non-sustainable capacity building in form of three days of training on human rights, policing services and other security sector agencies. But the main problem is that, the training of the three days is not always followed up," he tol journalist in Juba, the South Sudan capital.

Meanwhile, under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, the UN body in South Sudan is tasked with; support for peace consolidation and thereby fostering longer-term state building, economic development; support the Government of the Republic of South Sudan in exercising its responsibilities for conflict prevention, mitigation and resolution, protecting civilians and support the government in developing its capacity to provide security, establish rule of law, and to strengthen the security and justice sectors.

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