Friday, December 16, 2016

UN Peacekeepers to Stay in South Sudan Through 2017

The United Nations Security Council has unanimously extended its peacekeeping mission in South Sudan for another year.

The U.S.-drafted resolution says the council also will consider “appropriate measures” including an arms embargo against South Sudan to address continuing violence in the country.

4,000 troops added to mission

The new mission covers a new regional force of 4,000 troops, approved in August but not yet deployed, in addition to the approximately 13,000 peacekeepers already there.

The U.N. Mission in South Sudan, known as UNMISS, has come under criticism for failing to do enough to protect civilians during the three-year conflict. Human-rights groups said the mission did not do enough to protect civilians in Juba from a wave of mass rapes and murder that swept the capital five months ago, leaving at least 300 people dead.

Tensions between U.N., South Sudan

Ahead of the Security Council vote, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon sharply criticized South Sudan’s leaders Friday, saying they have betrayed the people’s trust and manipulated ethnicity for political gain.

Ban warned that violence in South Sudan, including “mass atrocities” and “recurring episodes of ethnic cleansing,” could escalate into genocide.

Tensions have been growing between South Sudan’s government and the U.N. mission. South Sudan initially rejected a U.S. proposal to deploy an additional 4,000 U.N. peacekeepers to the country in the wake of the fighting in July, but has now agreed to allow them, even though the technicalities are still being worked out.

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