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STATEMENT BY H.E. FESTUS MOGAE, CHAIRMAN
 OF THE 
JOINT MONITORING & EVALUATION COMMISSION TO THE AFRICAN UNION
 PEACE AND SECURITY COUNCIL MARCH 17, 2017 ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA

The Chairman of the AU Peace and Security Council, Ambassador Ndumiso Ntshinga, The African Union High Representative for South Sudan, President Alpha Konare; Commissioner for Peace and Security, Smail Chegui
, Your Excellencies Permanent Representatives;

Ladies and Gentlemen;

  1. Thank you for your kind invitation to brief you all today.
  2. I submitted my quarterly report to the African Union Peace and Security Council last month, covering the period November 2016 to February 2017. I hope that you have received it and had a chance to review my findings.
  3. In the eight months since the outbreak of violence last July, the situation in South Sudan has steadily deteriorated to an unacceptable level.
  4. CTSAMM, the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism, now report deliberate, planned conflict between the main Parties to the Agreement. The UN’s leading relief agencies have also declared a famine in specific localised areas.
  5. Two days ago, I chaired the March JMEC Plenary in Juba and I can report that there was a heightened sense of alarm expressed over the fact that the security, economic and humanitarian situation are slipping out of control. It is time now to stand together to do something about it.
  6. Let me first very quickly summarise the situation as we find it, and then I shall address the defining questions that we face.

Chairman, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen;

  1. Sadly repeated calls for peace have gone unheeded. CTSAMM have given us their strongest report on record, stating, and I quote, “the security situation is rapidly deteriorating. We are observing well planned and deliberate fighting in Greater Upper Nile and the Equatoria regions. Violations indicate a gross disregard for the Permanent Ceasefire and recent reports suggest that fighting is likely to continue.”
  2. We were also disappointed to learn that CTSAMM teams continue to be routinely denied access to investigate violations by both Government and Opposition forces. In Malakal the team was denied freedom of movement by the SPLA-IG on several occasions as they tried to investigate the fighting that took place in Wau Shilluk.
  3. In January a member of the CTSAMM monitoring and verification team in Wau was killed, reportedly by SPLA-IO (Machar).
  4. Whilst we try to encourage implementation of the Peace Agreement, the SPLA-IG and the SPLA-IO loyal to Dr. Machar, and other armed groups, wage relentless war and engage in the destruction of lives, homes and communities in total violation of the ceasefire agreement.
  5. This conflict is not acceptable and I strongly condemn the violence, the killings, the human rights abuses, the destruction of homes and the interference in the CTSAMM operation by all armed groups around the country. Those responsible must be held accountable for the continuous suffering of innocent civilians.

Chairman, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen;

  1. On 20th February, UN Agencies WFP, UNICEF and FAO declared a localised famine affecting about 100,000 people in northern Unity State. An additional one million are on the brink of famine in several other parts of the country.
  2. A formal famine declaration means that people have already started to die from starvation. This famine, however, has nothing to do with failing rains, drought or infertile soil. It is entirely the product of violence & insecurity. When people are driven from the land in fear of their lives, production stops, food becomes scarce and people starve.
  3. Every single act of violence results in ever growing numbers of refugees or IDP’s and this is deeply regretable. I find continuous reports of the denial of access for critical humanitarian aid, predominantly by the government, to be deplorable. All Parties to the Agreement must take responsibility for the protection of the South Sudanese people.
  4. In the interim, we must urgently look again at all possible practical measures that we can take to alleviate the desperate suffering that millions of people are facing every day.
  5. The economic crisis is deepening further. Increased insecurity in rural areas has contributed to a significant reduction in agricultural production and has also negatively impacted oil production. Together with low oil prices, these developments have caused a dramatic decline in revenues and living standards across the country.
  6. The Transitional Government of National Unity has from 1st March announced an increase in work permit fees from $100 up to between $1,000 and $10,000. Such measures will affect both the public and private sectors in South Sudan by impairing future economic growth and development through a reduction in the transfer of skills and lowering foreign direct investment.
  7. Increased fees levied on foreign humanitarian workers will further hinder the humanitarian relief effort in a manner that is inconsistent with the spirit of Chapter III of the Agreement. I have appealed to TGoNU to reconsider these measures.

Chairman, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen;

  1. With regard to the implementation of the Agreement, I can report the following:
  2. It should be noted that since the events of July 2016, a split in the SPLM/IO has resulted in two factions appearing: one loyal to Dr. Riek Machar, currently in exile in South Africa, which is still fighting and has been excluded from all Agreement Institutions, and the other loyal to General Taban Deng Gai, now First Vice President, who are cooperating with the Government.
  3. The National Constitution Amendment Committee has held two meetings during which all the amendments to the Constitution to incorporate the Agreement have been discussed. NCAC has also met both the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs and the Minister for Cabinet Affairs and briefed them on progress. Both Ministers have affirmed the government’s commitment to the implementation of the agreement and pledged to support the work of NCAC. The Committee is working hard to complete the review of the Constitution before the end of the month.
  4. We have formally submitted CTSAMM Board-certified ceasefire violation reports, including attribution, to the TGoNU and requested that both SPLA-IG and SPLA-IO advise JMEC on the actions taken regarding the reported violations.
  5. The Joint Military Ceasefire Commission has continued to develop plans for cantonment. I am aware of the challenges that the JMCC is facing, predominantly in resourcing, but I hope that it will explore every option to deliver a practical and realistic solution and that a pilot programme will commence soon.
  6. The Joint Integrated Police have developed a full Action Plan for 2017 and remains ready to engage training for over 1,000 police at Rajaf Training Centre. However, delays in the vetting and registration process and in resource allocation are stalling progress and I have urged the TGoNU to resolve these issues as quickly as possible.
  7. The Strategic Defence and Security Review Board Chairperson and his team continue to work towards completing the Strategic Defence Review and have been working with partners on developing an initiative that will set a number of key parameters, such as armed group integration, Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR), and the right-sizing of security forces.
  8. I have called upon the TGoNU to demonstrate commitment to these Agreement institutions by providing resources and facilities required to successfully achieve objectives; and I encourage the regional and international partners to support them.
  9. Chapter Four of the Peace Agreement underlines the need for economic stability. Data for government spending for the first half of 2016/17 shows that, despite overspending on some areas, the Government is close to meeting its goals on the implementation of its ambitious stabilization plan.
  10. Beyond the establishment in December 2016 of the Technical Committee for the National Consultative Process for the Establishment of the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing (CTHR), there has been no further progress on establishing Chapter Five mechanisms and institutions. I have yet to hear from the African Union Commission on the establishment of the Hybrid Court for South Sudan.
  11. These are matters of great concern. Given the escalation of the conflict, progress towards Chapter Five mechanisms is needed now more than ever before and I appeal to all parties to move with haste to enable their swift establishment. There must be accountability for the atrocities that are being committed daily across South Sudan.

Chairman, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen;

  1. Whether by design or default, a war is being waged around South Sudan and the security and humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate. And so I wish to spell out the three defining questions that we all face together right now.
  2. How do we stop the fighting? How do we stop innocent people dying of starvation? And how do we ensure that the interests and concerns of all South Sudanese communities are fully represented and considered? Peace, relief and inclusivity.
  3. These three issues are wholly interconnected. The humanitarian crisis, now officially a famine, is the direct result of insecurity and armed violence perpetrated by all parties to the Agreement.
  4. This insecurity and armed violence is a direct result of the perception and reality of political exclusion from the peace process.
  5. And therefore, only when all the people and communities of South Sudan see that their interests and concerns are being represented, can peace return to this country, and the people return to normal life.
  6. There can never be a military solution in South Sudan. To find a sustainable political solution, we must be willing to listen to all views, accommodate all constituencies and compromise.
  7. Equally, a political solution cannot be imposed upon any one side by any other. We must be willing to find the appropriate solution that answers the interests of all.
  8. I have met with the President of South Sudan, H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, twice in the past two weeks and had important discussions primarily focused on the principles of inclusivity and the National Dialogue initiative, which has the potential to address national grievances if it is genuinely and sincerely inclusive.
  9. I have reiterated my view that the National Dialogue must hear and address the views of all communities in South Sudan, not simply those who agree with the Government. The National Dialogue must be authentic, autonomous and impartially-led for it to be credible and deliver a reliable representation of all views and concerns.
  10. A National Dialogue conducted in this fashion would be a true vehicle for the full implementation of the Peace Agreement.

Chairman, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen;

  1. To enhance its effectiveness, JMEC has established Working Committees, as permitted by the provisions of Chapter Seven of the Agreement.
  2. This initiative is about utilising the full capacity and potential of JMEC and taking a collaborative approach to enhancing our oversight role, and maximising our collective ability to assess, evaluate, and support the implementation of the Agreement.

Chairman, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen;

  1. And so finally, my recommendation is that we must continue to demand:
  2. the total cessation of violence around the country and the immediate deployment of the Regional Protection Force;
  3. the full and credible inclusion of all Parties and stakeholders in the political process;
  4. the constant encouragement to the TGoNU to ensure a genuinely inclusive National Dialogue that involves all the estranged parties to the Agreement, other armed groups, communities, civil society and women’s groups;
  5. the continued support to the NCAC to conclude their work as quickly as possible;
  6. continued implementation of Chapter II Transitional Security Arrangements and cantonment activities;
  7. a dramatic and immediate improvement of the conditions for delivery of humanitarian assistance and the establishment of the Special Reconstruction Fund (SRF);
  8. and a renewed effort to establish the Hybrid Court for South Sudan.
  9. In conclusion, therefore, and in the face of an ever-worsening situation, I believe that a resolute and unified approach by IGAD, by the African Union and by the international community can recover lost ground and I hope that we will continue to work together and play our parts in restoring hope to the people of South Sudan.
  10. May God bless us all and continue to guide us in the relentless pursuit of peace.

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