The United Nations is expected to renew the mandate of its peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, known as the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). This decision comes after a tumultuous year in the country, marked by political instability, intercommunal violence, and a worsening humanitarian crisis.
UNMISS was established in 2011, shortly after South Sudan gained independence from Sudan. Its mandate is to support the government of South Sudan in consolidating peace and security, protect civilians, and promote human rights. The mission has over 14,000 uniformed personnel, including military and police personnel, and is one of the largest UN peacekeeping operations in the world.
The renewal of UNMISS’s mandate comes at a critical time for South Sudan, which is facing multiple challenges. The country has been in a state of political turmoil since 2013, when a power struggle between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar led to a civil war. The conflict has resulted in widespread violence, displacement, and loss of life, and has left millions of people in need of humanitarian assistance.
In recent months, the situation in South Sudan has deteriorated further, with a surge in intercommunal violence and clashes between government forces and armed groups. This has led to the displacement of tens of thousands of people and a growing humanitarian crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has also exacerbated the situation, with the country’s weak healthcare system struggling to cope with the influx of patients.
Given these challenges, the renewal of UNMISS’s mandate is crucial for the stability and security of South Sudan. The mission’s presence has helped to prevent further violence and protect civilians, and its continued support is essential for building peace and promoting reconciliation in the country.
The renewal of the mandate is also an opportunity for UNMISS to review its operations and adapt to the changing situation in South Sudan. The mission has faced criticism in the past for failing to protect civilians and for its limited impact on the ground. Renewing the mandate provides an opportunity for UNMISS to address these shortcomings and strengthen its effectiveness.
In addition to renewing UNMISS’s mandate, the international community must also continue to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of South Sudan. The country is facing one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises, with over 7 million people in need of assistance. This requires sustained support from the international community, including funding for humanitarian organizations and efforts to address the root causes of the crisis.