The UN Security Council today extended the mandate of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) for a further year. Switzerland supported the resolution in New York because UNMISS makes an important contribution to the protection of civilians and the promotion of sustainable peace, both priorities of its Council membership. The tasks of UNMISS include promoting the implementation of the peace agreement, strengthening international humanitarian law and human rights, and providing logistical support for humanitarian programmes in the country.

After decades of conflict, South Sudan gained political independence in 2011. However, the new government collapsed in 2013 and a civil war began that ended with a peace agreement in 2018. But this peace is deceptive: the many problems that tore society apart still exist, and the deep traumas of the recent wars remain unresolved. Political reforms that would address these challenges are still a long way off. Elections are scheduled for December 2024, but there is no confirmation that they will take place.

Switzerland has already underlined its full support for the UNMISS mandate in a public briefing to the Security Council on 5 March 2024. At that time, it also underlined key aspects that are central to stability and security in South Sudan. These include the creation of a secure environment for the holding of elections. Free, fair and inclusive elections, which the resolution adopted today also mandates UNMISS to support, are central to the implementation of the 2018 peace agreement. On the other hand, the already precarious humanitarian situation needs to be improved. This has deteriorated significantly as a result of the ongoing war in Sudan since mid-April. To date, more than half a million Sudanese refugees have found shelter in Southern Sudan. The influx of people from Sudan exacerbates existing economic, social and political tensions and has a negative impact on South Sudan's fragile food security situation. This is already under pressure from conflict, displacement and climate change. Rapid and unhindered humanitarian access is essential to deliver aid to people in need. It is also essential to protect humanitarian personnel.