The U.N. special envoy for South Sudan advised the country´s leaders to intervene in the clashes and sexual violence by putting a stop to it, adding that a two-year delay in holding elections should not be used as “a holiday break.”
Nicholas Haysom told the U.N. Security Council that while some noticeable progress has been made in implementing a 2018 peace agreement, key deadlines have been missed amid a worsening humanitarian crisis.
According to forecasts, 9.4 million of the country´s roughly 12 million people will need humanitarian aid next year, which he called “an alarming figure.”
The Security Council meeting followed last week´s announcement that South Sudan´s ruling party endorsed Kiir, the country´s only president since it gained independence, for another term in elections now scheduled for December 2024.
Haysom said legal and technical arrangements for elections should be finalized soon.
“We are concerned that delays are already having a domino effect on subsequent key benchmarks,” Haysom stated.
On the security front, the U.N. envoy expressed concern at clashes among armed militias which are causing displacement in northern Jonglei and Upper Nile states, and worries about intercommunal violence in northern Warrap state and ongoing cattle raiding and migration related conflicts in the three Equatoria states.
Clashes along the strategically important Nile River corridor have “taken on an ethnic dimension, and I condemn the human rights violations and abuses that have included killings, conflict-related sexual violence, pillaging and large-scale displacements,” he said.