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UN Security Council extends UNISFA mandate

Author: Okot Emmanuel | Published: Thursday, December 16, 2021

UN Security Council members vote during a session. (File photo).

The UN Security Council has yet again extended the mandate for its interim forces in the Abyei area for another six months.

Yesterday, the Council unanimously agreed to extend the peacekeeping mission until 15 May 2022 with a reduced number of troops.

The UN Interim Forces for the Abyei area have been reduced to 3,250 from nearly 4,500.

The 15 member council maintained the authorized ceiling at 640 police personnel, including 148 individual officers and three formed units.

It urges the governments of Sudan and South Sudan to take steps to implement and facilitate confidence-building measures among the respective communities.

The Council also expressed its intention to reduce the authorized police ceiling as the Abyei Police Service is gradually established and providing effective law enforcement throughout the area.

The 35-paragraph resolutions contained several requests for the Secretary-General, including that he ensure the implementation of 16 UNISFA activities.

These include strengthening early warning mechanisms for human rights abuses and attacks on civilians to encourage the use of confidence-building and community engagement to support the mission’s protection and its information gathering efforts.

It expressed concerns that the Government of Sudan has not issued visas promptly to support personnel critical for the mandate of UNISFA, including police.

The report condemned the intermittent presence of South Sudan security personnel and the deployment of Sudan’s Oil Police in Diffra, in the Abyei area.

It described the presence of the forces as a violation of the 20th June 2011 Agreement.

The assembly demands that immediately and without preconditions the two countries fully dispatch their security forces from the Abyei area and the Oil Police in Diffra, respectively.

It further demanded that all parties involved allow, in accordance with international law, all humanitarian personnel full, safe and unhindered access to civilians in need of assistance and all necessary facilities for their operations.

It calls on the two states to take steps to implement and facilitate confidence-building measures among the respective communities including addition of women representatives into the various committees.

Additionally, the council strongly advises that the parties cease all forms of violence, human rights violations and abuses and violations of international humanitarian law committed against civilians, including women and children, and bring perpetrators to justice.

It reiterates the need for renewed efforts to conclusively determine the Safe demilitarized Buffer Zone centerline with no prejudices of the current or future legal status of the border.

The Security Council called on the two countries to act fast towards a political resolution.

It concludes that the current situation in Abyei and along the border between Sudan and South Sudan continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security.  It decided to remain actively seized of the matter

UNISFA has been in Abyei since 2011.

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