UN Promises To Put Measures In Place To Improve UN Mission’s Ability To Protect Civilians in South Sudan

JUBA, South Sudan.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon gestures while speaking during a press conference after a session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on March 1, 2013 in Geneva. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon gestures while speaking during a press conference after a session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on March 1, 2013 in Geneva. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI

Nov 2, 2016(Nyamilepedia) —-– On November 01, Alarmed by the “serious shortcomings” uncovered by an independent investigation into the response of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) after deadly violence erupted in and around its premises in Juba this past July, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will introduce a raft of measures for the Mission to better protect civilians – including through greater accountability of the mission’s civilian and uniformed leadership, Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said today.

According to a statement, the report on the Independent Special Investigation found that UNMISS did not respond effectively to the violence due to an overall lack of leadership, preparedness and integration among the various components of the mission, when violence broke out in the South Sudanese capital in early July.

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The Special Investigation also found that command and control arrangements were inadequate, while peacekeepers maintained a risk-averse posture. These factors contributed to the failure of UNMISS to respond to the attack by Government soldiers on the Terrain camp on 11 July and protect civilians under threat.

The Special Investigation was unable to verify allegations that peacekeepers failed to respond to acts of sexual violence committed directly in front of them on 17 and 18 July, according to the statement.

“The Secretary-General has studied the recommendations made by the Special Investigation and intends to implement them. [He] will ensure that the necessary steps are taken to enable UNMISS to protect civilians more effectively, including through greater accountability of the mission’s civilian and uniformed leadership,” said the statement.

23 October, The head of the United Nations peacekeeping operation in South Sudan, Ellen Margrethe Løj, has informed Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that she will be stepping down at the end of November after more than two years of leading the Mission.

Ms. Løj was appointed by the Secretary-General as his Special Representative and head of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in July 2014 and assumed her duties in Juba in September 2014.

“Although the road ahead will be challenging, I remain hopeful that peace will prevail and that this young nation will finally live out its great promise. I look forward to the day where the girls and boys of South Sudan will never know the trauma of war again and will be able to actualize their full potential,” Ms. Løj said in a statement released today by the Mission.

Although the road ahead will be challenging, I remain hopeful that peace will prevail and that this young nation will finally live out its great promise

According to the statement, she had planned to retire at the end of her current contract, which expired at the end of August this year, but chose to remain at the helm of the Mission in the wake of the July crisis until the situation could stabilize.

Ms. Løj has also stated that it has been an honor for her to serve as the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in South Sudan for over two years and will continue to advocate for a bright future for the people of South Sudan, the statement said.

In New York, Mr. Ban’s spokesman, Stéphane Dujarric, told reporters on Friday that “the Secretary-General is deeply appreciative of her lifetime of service to further the cause of peace and development, especially during her distinguished career with UN Peacekeeping having headed both UNMISS and the UN Mission in Liberia.”

“He is particularly thankful to SRSG Løj for her dedication, commitment and important contributions at the helm of UNMISS during extremely challenging times,” the spokesman added.

Ms. Løj, a national of Denmark, also headed the UN Mission in Liberia from 2008 to 2012, having previously held a number of senior positions in the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including as Ambassador to the Czech Republic, Permanent Representative to the United Nations, and Ambassador to Israel.

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