South Sudan still faces enormous challenges in extending government's authority, addressing inter-communal clashes and human rights abuses, said a top UN envoy for the world's newest nation Monday.
Hilde Johnson, the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for South Sudan, briefed the Security Council in the morning, noting that South Sudan "is at a crossroad." She told the council that the situation in parts of the volatile Jonglei State continues to be worrying. With the dry season approaching, the mobility of both armed groups and the Sudan People's Liberation Army will increase, creating risks of increased attacks, but also opportunities for response.
Jonglei, the largest state in the eastern part of South Sudan, has been plagued by inter-communal violence since the country won its independence in July 2011 from Sudan under a peace deal. Continued tribal clashes in Jonglei have caused heavy casualties and forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes.
The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has developed "a series of contingency plans" to handle security threats and protection of civilian needs, said Johnson, who also stressed that "the behaviour of the security forces continues to be a cause for grave concern, whether with regard to human rights abuses or incidents of violence and harassment affecting UN personnel, diplomats and ordinary citizens."
The challenges listed by the UN envoy in the country included prolonged and arbitrary detentions, excessive use of force and arbitrary killings by ill-disciplined security forces and agencies.