Outgoing UN chief calls for end to violence as he leaves South Sudan

David Shearer, outgoing Special Representative of the UN Secretary-general in South Sudan Photo credit: UNMISS

The outgoing Special Representative of UN Secretary General and the head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, David Shearer has called for an end to violence as he leaves the country.

“I urge that there is an end to the sporadic but brutal violence that we continue to witness in some parts of the country like Warrap and Jonglei, so the communities right across the country have the opportunity to recover and rebuild their lives. I urge the people and leaders to remain unified and energized to push the peace process forward to fully implement the revitalized agreement and hold elections, so communities across the country can finally true peace and prosperity,” Mr. Shearer told the media in South Sudan’s capital, Juba on Tuesday.

Mr. Shearer headed the UN peace-keeping mission in South Sudan from 2016 until earlier this year. His replacement is Nicholas Haysom from South Africa.

Although Mr. Shearer noted a progress made in the implementation of the peace agreement, he however said, “the peace process remains fragile and there is still much to be done.”

According to observers, the 2018 revitalized peace deal being implemented by unity government in the country is moving at a snail’s pace as some of its provisions are yet to be implemented. The formation of the governments in the states and in the three administrative areas is incomplete and unification of security forces among other issues is pending.

Intercommunal violence involving killings, child abduction and cattle raiding are common in South Sudan. Last week, cattle-related fighting left 18 people dead and many more injured in Mayom county in Unity state.

Violence involving communities from Jonglei State and Greater Pibor Administrative Area in 2020 resulted in the killing of at least 1,058 people, abduction of 686 women and children, a report carried out by the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner – OHCHR and UNMISS published in March 2021 says.

At least 86,000 cattle (worth at least USD 30 million) were stolen during these attacks, the report continues.