South Sudan: CARE urges major reform not just criticism of the UN peacekeeping mission

South Sudan: CARE urges major reform not just criticism of the UN peacekeeping mission

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Posted
11/2/16

JUBA, South Sudan—(November 2,2016)-- CARE welcomes over the report published today looking into the UN Mission in South Sudan’s (UNMISS) failure to act during the July 2016 conflicts that broke out in Juba, but worries that it does not go far enough.

To support the implementation of the peace agreement and the free flow of humanitarian aid to help the 5.1 million people in need, it is vital to have the full implementation of the UNMISS mandate. If additional peacekeepers are to be added, then there needs to be a real change in how they view the mandate and their responsibility to respond and individual troops need to be properly trained in how to prevent and respond to sexual violence. 

According to CARE South Sudan Country Director Fred McCray; “There is a need for proactive patrolling and efforts to protect rather than simply respond. UNMISS should take a key leadership role in establishing norms to ensure a longer term trickle down emphasis on protection among the general population if the eradication of violence against civilians in this fledgling nation is to be achieved.”

"Given the volatile and fluid nature of the South Sudan situation - it is crucial to have combat ready peacekeepers who will engage if and when necessary, and without delay, to protect the people of South Sudan. These troops need to be rapidly deployable to any part of the country and fully equipped with essential equipment if they are to be at all successful," said McCray. “Currently, only 4,000 troops of the current 12,000 strong contingent are combat troops, which begs the question: what are the rest of them doing here?”

“Countries that contribute to the budget of peacekeeping forces have to take more of a responsibility to change and enforce mandates in order to see a return on their investments,” said McCray. “If not, there are alternative ways of spending the US $1billion a year spent on peacekeeping forces in South Sudan, such as on food aid, healthcare services and livelihood development that might be more meaningful for the South Sudanese people.”

One of the biggest problems among peacekeeping forces here in South Sudan and more generally, is that they have divided loyalties between their UN commanders and their capitals; often deferring to national commanders over the official UN command chain. Troops need to be empowered by their national governments to be able to respond quickly, otherwise nothing will change,” adds McCray.

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Media contact:  Holly Frew  hfrew@care.org  +1.770.842.6188

About CARE in South Sudan:  CARE has been operating in Southern Sudan since 1993, most recently providing assistance in health, nutrition, food security and livelihoods, peace building and gender based violence prevention across four states including some of the worst affected by conflict. CARE currently works in Upper Nile, Unity, Jonglei and Eastern Equatoria. Since the crisis began in 2013 CARE has assisted over 300,000 people across these four states. CARE has around 310 staff on the ground of which the majority (almost 300) are national staff.

 

Credit: Josh Estey/CARE

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