EXPLANATION OF VOTE AFTER THE ADOPTION OF UN SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION 2252 ON UNMISS
Ambassador Samantha Power
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
December 15, 2015 AS DELIVERED
Today’s resolution affirms the Council’s support for the peace agreement signed by South Sudanese parties in August, and mandates certain additional tasks so that UNMISS can better support implementation of that agreement. We thank Council members for their support for this resolution.
The resolution retains UNMISS’s core mandate of protecting civilians, monitoring and investigating human rights abuses and violations, and creating conditions in which humanitarian assistance can reach people in need. It also answers the Secretary-General’s call to increase the number of troops and police assigned to UNMISS, and thereby strengthens the mission’s ability to protect civilians. This increase will further allow UNMISS to support ceasefire monitoring and provide technical assistance to the Joint Integrated Police, a body which will be important in maintaining security in cities throughout the country.
This resolution also anticipates the return of nearly 3,000 members of the opposition to Juba. The return of such numbers of opposition figures could change the dynamics in Juba. That is why we have asked the Secretary-General to undertake planning for UNMISS to have a dedicated capacity to deter and respond to incidents in Juba so as to avoid a deterioration of security there.
While the Council agreed on the necessary troop and police increases, we regret – as others have – that the Council could not reach full consensus on all elements of this resolution. Many of the main concerns raised remain the same as at our last adoption. I would like to just briefly respond to them.
First, this resolution expresses our continued commitment to using sanctions as a tool for peace. They are essential, as a tool in the toolbox, to marginalizing those who wish to derail this important agreement. The African Union has spoken forcefully to this issue on multiple occasions. In a September 26th communiqué by its Peace and Security Council, the AU expressed its determination “to impose measures against all those who would impede this agreement.” This resolution takes the same posture.
Second, this resolution, like its predecessor, recognizes the Council’s responsibility to ensure that UNMISS peacekeepers have the tools and technological capabilities needed to safely and fully fulfill their mission. We heard an extensive brief from the Secretariat during our meeting with troop- and police-contributing countries on the important role that unarmed and unmanned aerial systems and helicopters can play in helping missions fulfill their difficult mandates. We owe it to the troops and police on the ground to provide them with these life-saving tools. They are asking for unmanned aerial vehicles so they know what is going on around them, so they are less at risk, so they can better fulfill their mandates. We are listening to the troop contributors; this issue should not and need not be politicized. We wonder, actually, if the countries that abstain on this resolution citing UAV’s would do so if they had battalions of peacekeepers on the ground?
Finally, this resolution reflects the fact that ensuring accountability for crimes and abuses, and providing access to justice for victims, represents a central part of building peace – not an obstacle to maintaining peace. The hybrid court proposed by the peace agreement could play an important role in this effort, and the resolution reaffirms this Security Council’s commitment to stay involved in the development of that institution. This is really important – it’s important because impunity must end if peace and security are both to take hold, and to endure. There cannot be collective guilt, and justice is a critical means of ending collective guilt.
South Sudan has the opportunity to close the door on conflict and reclaim the promise we all saw at its birth as a nation four years ago. This resolution will help them to do so, and I thank the Council for its work. If holding partners to their commitments to implement the agreement; if providing access to justice for victims; and if providing the tools troop contributors need in order to do their jobs safely leads to abstentions, that is very unfortunate for a Council that has agreed on these issues in many, many other contexts in the past. We seek unity, for sure, but the strong vote today deepens our determination to ensure UNMISS can respond to a very real crisis – a crisis that persists – and the very real needs in South Sudan.
I thank you.