REPOST from Eye Radio – 24 OCT 2019
Authors: Jale Richard | Rose Enosa |
The Senate in the United States has introduced a bipartisan resolution in support of the peace process in South Sudan.
The resolution was presented on Tuesday by four U.S. Senators; Chris Coons, Johnny Isakson, Dick Durbin, and Todd Young.
This follows a meeting of the UN Security Council and parties to the revitalized peace agreement in Juba, South Sudan over the weekend.
President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar disagreed over the timeline of the formation of the Transitional Government of National Unity.
The peace parties shall form a coalition government on 12 November, according to the 2018 revitalized peace agreement.
But Dr. Riek Machar insists that key provisions in the security arrangements must first be implemented before the establishment of the new government.
These include unified army, police and national security.
He expressed fear over the status of the ceasefire -if the government and other parties proceed to form a coalition government.
In their resolution in Washington DC, Democrat and Republican senators said: “as important discussions within the [South Sudan] continue, all of the relevant political actors should feel secure in their ability to participate in [the] transition.”
The Senators said they support the South Sudanese people and their efforts to secure a “democratic transition.”
“With the introduction of this resolution, we are expressing our continued support for the people of South Sudan,” partially reads a statement by Senator Coons.
They called on the leaders to keep the momentum going to strengthen the fragile peace that exists in South Sudan.
“The lives and livelihoods of the people depend on it,” said Senator Chris Coons, adding that the leaders should work towards a stable future.
“It is time to put that war in South Sudan’s rearview mirror and build toward a stable future.”
The US lawmakers said the bipartisan resolution will support South Sudan’s peace process and its efforts to transition to democratic rule.
“We encourage all parties within South Sudan to provide a secure environment to resolve outstanding political issues and make demonstrable progress toward creating lasting peace,” said Senator Johnny Isakson.
◊ ◊ ◊
FULL TEXT: 116th Congress, 1st Session – Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 167 (Original link)
SENATE RESOLUTION 371--REAFFIRMING THE SUPPORT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE PEOPLE OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH SUDAN AND CALLING ON ALL PARTIES TO UPHOLD THEIR COMMITMENTS TO PEACE AND DIALOGUE AS OUTLINED IN THE 2018 REVITALIZED PEACE AGREEMENT Mr. COONS (for himself, Mr. Isakson, Mr. Durbin, and Mr. Young) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations: S. Res. 371 Whereas the United States recognized South Sudan as a sovereign, independent state on July 9, 2011, following its secession from Sudan; Whereas the United States played a key role in helping draft the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that laid the groundwork for the 2011 referendum on self-determination, through which the people of South Sudan overwhelmingly voted for independence; Whereas the people and Government of the United States have a deep and abiding interest in South Sudan's political stabilization and post-conflict development; Whereas stability in Sudan is critical to peace and security in the region, including for South Sudan, and the United States Government remains committed to fostering Sudan's peaceful transition, as reflected by the passage of Senate Resolution 188 (116th), which ``encourag[es] a swift transfer of power by the military to a civilian-led political authority in the Republic of the Sudan''; Whereas, since the onset of the civil war in South Sudan in December 2013, nearly 400,000 South Sudanese citizens are estimated to have been killed, 1,900,000 have been internally displaced, and 2,300,000 have fled the country and registered as refugees; Whereas the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) signed on September 12, 2018 by the political parties of South Sudan, affirms the Parties' commitment to the permanent ceasefire and forbids human rights violations and restrictions on humanitarian assistance; Whereas the R-ARCSS establishes two phases of implementation, a Pre-Transitional Period until May 12, 2019, which was subsequently extended to November 12, 2019, followed by the establishment of a Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (RTGoNU) for three years; Whereas the six-month extension of the deadline to form the RTGoNU was granted to allow additional time to complete critical Pre-Transitional tasks, including agreement on the number and boundaries of states and important security arrangements; Whereas the R-ARCSS stipulates that the signatories will create an enabling political, administrative, operational, and legal environment for the delivery of humanitarian assistance and protection; Whereas the people of South Sudan continue to suffer from a humanitarian crisis, with the United Nations reporting that over 6,300,000 people, more than half the population, were classified as severely food insecure at the peak of the lean season in 2019, including an estimated 10,000 who faced famine conditions, and despite slight improvements in food security during the harvest, the number of children under age five who are acutely malnourished is projected to rise to 1,300,000 in early 2020; Whereas humanitarian organizations are providing lifesaving assistance to more than 5,300,000 South Sudanese people and are providing other vital support services such as medical care to survivors of sexual violence and facilitating access to education to over 690,000 children; Whereas religious and faith-based organizations have played a key role in the peace process and humanitarian response efforts in support of the people of South Sudan; Whereas at least 112 humanitarian aid workers have been killed since the start of the conflict in 2013, including at least 15 in 2018; Whereas the United States Department of State 2018 Country Report on Human Rights Practices in South Sudan states that both the government and opposition forces engaged in serious human rights abuses by perpetrating extrajudicial killings, including ethnically based targeted killings of civilians, and by engaging in arbitrary detentions, torture, rape, beatings, and looting of property; Whereas, on March 15, 2019, the United Nations Security Council extended the mandate [[Page S5976]] of the United Nations Mission (UNMISS) in South Sudan for one year and authorized UNMISS to use all necessary means to deter violence against civilians, to prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence, and to foster a secure environment for the return or relocation of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees; Whereas impunity for past atrocities continues to drive violence in South Sudan, and signatories to the R-ARCSS committed to the establishment of transitional justice measures; Whereas the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has reported that children comprise approximately 25 percent of all reported cases of conflict-related sexual violence, and the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan has reported that forced recruitment of child soldiers is increasing, despite the 2018 peace agreement; Whereas illicitly obtained wealth and revenue sources perpetuate conflict in South Sudan; Whereas leaders of South Sudan use violence and corruption as a means of capturing key sectors of the national economy, such as the oil and mining sectors, for purposes of personal enrichment; and Whereas the United Nations Security Council adopted resolution 2471 on May 30, 2019, to extend its sanctions regime in South Sudan and renew the prohibition of the supply, sale, or transfer to South Sudan of arms and related material or the provision of training, technical, and financial assistance related to military activities or materials until May 31, 2020: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate-- (1) to reaffirm the commitment of the United States to support peace in South Sudan; (2) to call on the incumbent government and all other signatories of the R-ARCSS to-- (A) create a secure, enabling environment for all relevant political leaders to participate actively in the formation of the RTGoNU and South Sudan's political stabilization and post-conflict development; (B) resolve peacefully the remaining political issues for negotiation during the Pre-Transitional Period, including agreement on the number and boundaries of states before the extended deadline of November 12, 2019; (C) establish a RTGoNU by November 12, 2019; (D) adhere to the cessation of hostilities and enable the delivery of humanitarian assistance and protection; (E) immediately release all political prisoners and fulfill their responsibility to protect civilians; and (F) ensure respect for and full exercise of the right to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly; (3) that the Secretary of State and the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) should continue to provide immediate lifesaving assistance to meet the dire humanitarian needs of the South Sudanese people; (4) that the Secretary of State and the USAID Administrator should continue to support civilians, particularly women and children, who have been adversely affected by the civil war, and should provide foreign assistance to support peacebuilding, conflict prevention, transitional justice, and reconciliation efforts led by local civil society; (5) that the Secretary of State should monitor implementation of the UNMISS mandate authorized by United Nations Security Council Resolution 2459 (2019) and ensure that any return or relocation of IDPs from United Nations protection of civilian sites are safe, informed, voluntary, dignified, and conducted in coordination with humanitarian actors; (6) that the Secretary of State, in conjunction with the Secretary of the Treasury, should continue to monitor human rights abuse and corruption in South Sudan and take decisive action using authorities granted under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (subtitle F of title XII of Public Law 114-328; 22 U.S.C. 2656 note); (7) that the Secretary of the Treasury should use best efforts to prevent, detect, investigate, and mitigate money laundering activities; and (8) that the United States Government should support implementation and subsequent renewal of the United Nations Security Council arms embargo in South Sudan to prevent continued illicit acquisition of arms and military equipment by all parties and the proliferation of weapons throughout the country, and that the lifting of a United Nations arms embargo should be contingent upon-- (A) sustained adherence to the permanent ceasefire, tangible efforts to end impunity for violence against civilians, and consistent, unimpeded humanitarian access in accordance with international humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality, and independence; (B) holding free, fair, and peaceful democratic elections; and (C) cessation of widespread abuses and violations by armed actors against civilians. ____________________