South Sudan and UNMISS – Current Political and Security Dynamics

Last updated: 12 November 2020

Official celebration in Juba a symbol of progress towards peace in South Sudan
Official celebration in Juba a symbol of progress towards peace in South Sudan (UNMISS)

from Security Council Report and UN Press​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ (March 12, 2020)

March 2020 Monthly Forecast, posted 28 February 2020.

On 22 February, the Transitional Government of National Unity was established in South Sudan, marking the start of a 36-month transitional period ahead of the holding of elections, in accordance with the terms of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) signed on 12 September 2018. Riek Machar was sworn in as First Vice President, followed by four other four vice-presidents. Machar pledged to work with Kiir during the upcoming 36-month transitional period to implement the R-ARCSS. “For the people of South Sudan, I want to assure you that we will work together to end your long-suffering,” he said.

According to the terms of the R-ARCSS, 12 May 2019 was to mark the end of the eight-month pre-transitional period and the start of the 36-month transitional period, with elections to be held 60 days before the end of the transitional period. The deadline for the end of the pre-transitional period was extended for a second time until 22 February so that critical outstanding pre-transitional tasks specified under the R-ARCSS could be completed. These include the cantonment and training of a unified army and agreement on the number and boundaries of states. To date, many pre-transitional tasks remain outstanding, although on 15 February the parties were able to reach a compromise on reducing the number of states from 32 to 10.

The overall level of political violence remains lower than prior to the signing of the R-ARCSS, and the ceasefire continues to hold across most of the country. However, ethnic and intercommunal violence has continued, along with sporadic clashes between government and opposition forces in some parts of the country. The human rights, humanitarian, food security, and economic conditions in the country remain dire, with an enormous impact on civilians.

On March 12, 2020, the Security Council adopted the UNSCR 2514, renewing the UNMISS mandate for one year acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations. The mandate maintains a troop ceiling of 17,000 military personnel, which includes a Regional Protection Force (RPF), and an additional 2,101 police personnel, including 88 corrections officers. The renewed mandate will run until 15 March 2021.

By terms of the resolution, the 15 member Council demanded that all parties to the conflict immediately cease fighting throughout South Sudan and engage in political dialogue. It also demanded that the country’s leaders implement the permanent ceasefire declared in the 2018 Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan.

By further terms, the Council encouraged the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the African Union Peace and Security Council and countries in the region to continue their firm engagement with South Sudan’s leaders, and to meet, without delay, their commitments under the Revitalized Agreement and other cessation-of-hostilities accords.

The Council requested that the Secretary-General provide, no later than 15 December, an independent strategic review of UNMISS, assessing the challenges to peace and security in South Sudan, with detailed recommendations for a possible reconfiguration of the Mission’s mandate, as well as its civilian, military and police components to account for developments in the peace process.​​​​​​​

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Country profile of South Sudan

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United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS)

Senior Leaders of the Mission / Mandate / Strength / Deployment of Forces / Casualties / Mission’s Political Activities / Mission’s Military and Police Activities / Security Council Reporting and mandate cycles / Background of Conflict / Timeline