South Sudan

House of Lords written question – answered on 20th October 2014.

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Photo of Lord Alton of Liverpool Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress is being made in South Sudan to ensure that all parties to the conflict and all armed groups (1) end violence and respect all agreements signed to date, including the Cessation of Hostilities and humanitarian agreements; (2) stop attacks against civilians, their homes and livelihoods, and end the forced recruitment of children; (3) guarantee protection of and respect for humanitarian staff; and (4) guarantee safe and unhindered access for humanitarian aid.

Photo of Baroness Northover Baroness Northover Lords Spokesperson (Women & Equalities), Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip), Lords Spokesperson (Department for International Development)

The intensity of the conflict in South Sudan has reduced substantially during the rainy season, but low level fighting and restrictions on humanitarian access in violation of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA) continue. Steps towards a wider ceasefire were agreed in principle by the main warring parties in August, but an implementation matrix has not yet come into effect.

A further round of peace talks convened by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) was held from 22 September to 5 October, with the mediators reporting some progress around the formation of a Transitional Government of National Unity to lead the country out of conflict. We expect talks to resume again after regional consultations, and the UK government continues to offer its full support to this process.

The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has stepped up patrols and continues to focus on protection of civilians and creating the conditions for the delivery of humanitarian assistance, in line with its renewed mandate agreed on 27 May 2014. Additional UN troops from regional forces have also been deployed in support of teams monitoring CoHA implementation. UK support has enabled humanitarian agencies to provide essential assistance in both UN Protection of Civilian (PoC) camps and in ‘hard to reach’ area. However, security and lack of access remain major constraints to reaching those in need and we continue to stress the important need for all parties to respect the CoH, and to allow for unhampered access for humanitarian assistance.

On 25 September, South Sudan’s Foreign Minister recommitted to his country’s 2012 Action Plan on Children and Armed Conflict at an event hosted by the Minister for Africa in New York. However, we continue to receive credible reports of the use of child soldiers in some areas.

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