UNITED NATIONS, June 21 (Xinhua) -- The top UN envoy in South Sudan, Nicholas Haysom, on Monday reported progress in South Sudan and voiced concern over the security situation in the country.
In May, the government established a task force to oversee and coordinate transitional justice and other judicial reforms. President Salva Kiir reconstituted the national legislature and appointed 550 new members. Later in the month, President Kiir, with Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok in attendance, officially launched the permanent constitution-making process in Juba, he noted.
"Drafting a national constitution is a quintessential act of sovereignty. It expresses the highest aspirations of a nation and its most cherished values. An inclusive national conversation will lay a foundation for a social contract between the citizens of the country. An engaged and inclusive process will increase the probability of a durable peace," he told the Security Council in a briefing.
The Republic of South Sudan will mark its 10th anniversary as an independent state on July 9. International commitment to supporting South Sudan 10 years ago remains as important and as urgent today as the world's youngest nation strives to deliver peace and security to its citizens, he said.
Despite the progress, the overall implementation of the Revitalized Agreement is progressing slowly. The formation of the legislature remains incomplete. The constitution of the Council of States and the nomination of the legislative assembly speaker are pending, said Haysom.
Similarly, transitional security arrangements remain behind schedule. The formation and graduation of the Unified Forces is a critical element of South Sudan's transition intended to prevent the intractable relapse into conflict. Troops continue to suffer in cantonment and training sites without adequate shelter, health care, and food. It is, therefore, important that the precondition of a coherent command and control structure is finalized, followed by the graduation of the forces, he said.
Haysom expressed grave concern over the dire security situation in the country.
"I would like to highlight the pervasive insecurity, in particular intercommunal violence, which continues to obstruct the realization of a durable and sustainable peace in South Sudan. This year, more than 80 percent of civilian casualties were attributed to intercommunal violence and community-based militias."
Despite the efforts of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to maintain peace, weak or absent state governance institutions throughout South Sudan have enabled spoilers to exploit perennial communal and ethnic cleavages. Entrenched insecurity has hindered the cultivation of crops and has contributed to a vicious cycle of livestock raiding. Many communities are dangerously short of food supplies. Meanwhile, in the Equatorias, the National Salvation Front and the South Sudan People's Defense Forces remain engaged in intermittent armed conflict, he said.
Worryingly, weakened rule of law institutions and economic deterioration have led to increased criminality and targeting of humanitarian workers. This year alone, four humanitarian workers have been killed, and millions of dollars of humanitarian supplies looted or destroyed. The callous and indiscriminate killing of humanitarian workers is deplorable, said Haysom, who also heads UNMISS.