The UN Security Council held a meeting on the human rights situation in South Sudan, concerned that the humanitarian situation is only going to worsen.
The UN Security Council meeting focused on three key areas: looking at a timeline to deploy extra troops to South Sudan, the human rights situation in the country, and the implementation of recommendations following an investigation into the violence in the capital last July.
The UN is still struggling to send the new Regional Protection Force to the country.
Nearly 5,000 troops were authorized to deploy to Juba last August, to help protect UN staff and civilians in Juba, but so far, the government has denied the UN mission to use land where it was hoping to station the troops. It looks as if it could still be several months before they are finally sent to South Sudan.
UK deputy ambassador Peter Wilson said ahead of the meeting that the UK would focus on the deployment of the regional taskforce. He also said the peace process in South Sudan needed “a shot in the arm.”
Meanwhile, the UN mission in South Sudan, UNMISS, is still being restricted from carrying out its mandate by government forces. The UN reports that it is not being allowed access to areas of the country, in particular where displaced people have settled. The UN therefore worries humanitarian problems will only be made worse.
That is of course particularly pressing after the announcement this week that parts of South Sudan are now facing famine. There are concerns the coming lean season in July could mean the number of people facing food insecurity rises from 4.9 million to 5.5 million.
The third area the Security Council discussed relates to a damning report that UN peacekeepers did not carry out their duties doing several days of violence in July last year. Since then, the force has been implementing recommendations including the need to enforce “a forward-leaning, highly mobile posture” among troops.