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Oye! News from Africa

UNMISS Head Says 2012 Has Been A Tough Year For South Sudan

Hilde F. Johnson, Special Representative of the Secretary General for UNMISS. [Gurtong File]Hilde F. Johnson, Special Representative of the Secretary General for UNMISS. [Gurtong File]“With what happened, the Jonglei crisis, then came the oil shutdown, and the crisis with Khartoum, with border clashes and direct military confrontation between the two, our assessment is that almost all the energy in South Sudan was sucked in to the conflict with Khartoum and very limited capacity was left to concentrate on the core state building functions, to build the new nation,” says Ms Hilde.

Ms. Hilde was speaking to Gurtong in an exclusive interview said UNMISS is mandated to consolidate peace and stability, support South Sudan’s government in conflict prevention, mitigation and resolution and protect civilians and foster longer-term state building and economic development among others.

The mission has been accused by some citizens for not doing enough to protect civilians when Sudan bombed parts of the new nation at the peak of hostilities early this year.

“The main misunderstanding here, and it was painful and challenging at the time, was that the people thought UNMISS was here to protect the territory and sovereignty of South Sudan. This is the national Army’s responsibility. That is not the case; no peace keeping mission is given such mandate. Our mandate is to protect civilians,” says Ms Johnson.

According the SRSG, the mission implemented the protection of the civilians’ mandate through making sure it verified and documented each case so that the Security Council (SC) had impartial and objective information on the bombardments.

“As a Mission, we protested and very strongly condemned these incidences. On the basis of that, we saw a stronger international mobilization to call for an end to the bombardments.”

The SRSG cites the registration of police in the professionalization process, the peace process in Jonglei and supporting the Constitutional Review Commission as the critical achievements made in 2012.

The Mission has supported the efforts of the Presidential Peace and Reconciliation Committee chaired by Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul.

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