UN reiterates commitment to build durable peace in South Sudan

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has reiterated its commitment to protect civilians and build durable peace in the world’s youngest nation.

David Shearer, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and the Head of the UNMISS, said the UN mission will help the warring parties that signed the Sept. 12 agreement to build trust and confidence for the future of the country.

“On UN Day, I would like to reassure you that the United Nations is committed to building a durable peace, protecting civilians and building the economic future of South Sudan,” Shearer said on Wednesday evening during the celebrations to mark the UN Day in Juba.

Shearer alluded to the UN Secretary-General’s statement issued on Wednesday that said all the UN agencies working in South Sudan will never give up on protecting, providing much-needed humanitarian aid to people in an effort to achieve peace and development for all.

United Nations Day is marked each year on Oct. 24 to commemorate the day in 1945 when the Charter of the United Nations came into force.

South Sudan became the 193rd member of the UN after it gained independence in 2011 from Sudan through a referendum.

President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar, leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-in-opposition (SPLA-IO), agreed to the final peace deal mediated by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an east African bloc.

South Sudan’s conflict has now entered its fifth year since it erupted in 2013 after forces loyal to Kiir and his former deputy Machar engaged in combat.

The 2015 peace agreement to end the violence was again violated in July 2016 when the rival factions resumed fighting in the capital Juba, forcing Machar to flee into exile.

Millions of South Sudanese civilians have sought refuge in neighboring countries as the conflict rages on despite attempts by international players to end it.