[ NEWS ] 23/10/2019 – Eye Radio: US Senators pass bipartisan resolution on South Sudan

REPOST from Eye Radio – 24 OCT 2019


Authors: Jale Richard | Rose Enosa |

Chris-Coons

File: U.S Senator Chris Coons during a briefing by Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Courtesy/Office of Senator Chris Coons

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.

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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.

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