German party calls for closure of UNMISS, strengthening of civil peace efforts

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German political party Die Linke (“The Left”) says that the UN Mission in South Sudan has failed in its central task – the protection of civilians – and has called for more support for civilian peace measures instead.

MP Niema Movassat stated in a speech to federal parliament, “UNMISS is failing in one of its central tasks – the protection of the civilian population. Therefore, UNMISS was and is the wrong instrument to cope with the crisis in South Sudan.”

He cited the example of the Malakal PoC attack earlier this year in which dozens were killed as well as the Cammaert report on UNMISS’ failings during violence this July.

“The fact is that the presence of 12,000 UN blue helmets could not stop the violence in South Sudan. At the same time, it devoured immeasurable financial resources. Between July 2013 and June 2014 alone, UNMISS cost about 1 billion US dollars,” argued Movassat.

He went on to call for the end of the UN peacekeeping mandate in South Sudan and the withdrawal of German troops from UNMISS. Five German police evacuated South Sudan last July after UNMISS’ protection sites came under fire.

Movassat stated, “We as The Left will therefore reject the extension and expansion of the UNMISS mandate. It is absurd and irresponsible to continue a military deployment that has failed and is extremely costly.”

The Left is approximately the fourth-largest party in Germany with 64 seats in the federal parliament. The party is now calling for a different approach in South Sudan not involving armed UN peacekeepers.

“Instead, we need a strengthening of civilian peace measures. They are more effective and cost only a fraction of what the use of soldiers costs,” said the MP. Among his proposed solutions are “unarmed protection of civilians and for preventive peace work.”

Movassat appealed, “End the German participation in UNMISS, and instead promote civil peace and refugee relief! Secondly, suspend bilateral development cooperation with South Sudan! The regime of President Kiir covered the country with blood and violence and at the same time enriches itself unscrupulously. While he and his opponents often live abroad in luxury, their own population suffers. Such a regime must not be a partner of the [German] federal government.”

He pointed out that Germany’s multi-country GIZ project “Better Migration Management” still considers South Sudan as one of its partners. “One is complicit in the crimes of a regime, if one cooperates with it in the area of migration defense and border protection. Stop this!”

Watch the MP’s full speech (in German):

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