United Nations Security Council to discuss deployment of regional force in South Sudan

February 25, 2018 (JUBA) – The UN Security Council next Wednesday will discuss the deployment of the Regional Protection Force (RPF) and the obstacles the peacekeeping mission is facing in South Sudan.

The regional forces, which was initially authorised in August 2016 to protect civilians in Juba, has an authorized strength of 4000 troops but only 759 troops have been deployed currently in the country, less than a quarter of the authorised number.

In February, the Council is expected to receive a briefing on the Secretary-General’s monthly assessment of the deployment and future requirements of the Regional Protection Force (RPF) and impediments to the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in carrying out its mandate.

African leaders in July 2016 have backed the deployment of regional troops to South Sudan after deadly clashes in the capital that interrupted the implementation of the peace agreement and left hundreds dead and displaced over 40,000 civilians.

The 15 member body expects to receive the recommendations of the Secretary-General on the strategic review of UNMISS.

The US is the penholder on South Sudan is also expected to propose the imposition of an arms embargo and additional sanctions in a bid to reduce violence and keep pressures on the warring parties.

Russia may objects again to any proposition of arms embargo on South Sudan, but the Council has to discuss how to support the IGAD-led revitalization process and what to do with any party that undermines the peace process particularly violates the cessation of hostilities agreement.

It is not clear if the High Commissioner for Human Rights will be invited to brief the meeting on its last Friday report which details “appalling instances of cruelty against civilians who have had their eyes gouged out, their throats slit or been castrated”.

The report, which makes the case for “individual command responsibility for widespread or systematic attacks on civilians”, says UN investigators have identified over 40 South Sudanese military officers who may be responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

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