Security Council hears of ‘trust deficit’ in disputed Abyei region |
Mr. Lacroix gave a brief introduction of the work of UNISFAThe United Nations Interim Security Force on the oil-rich border urges the Council to extend its mandate for a further six months, through 15 October.
The force has supported dialogue between Misseriya nomads and Ngok Dinka pastoral communities, including addressing incidents of violence that have occurred in recent months.
Last week alone, 29 people were killed and 30 wounded, in coalition clashes.
“These deaths and injuries could have been avoided if there was more trust between the two communities at all levels,” Mr. Lacroix said.
While UNISFA continues community engagement, increases patrols, and encourages the use of conflict resolution mechanisms, “First and foremost – for the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan to renew their commitment to the final status of Abyei,” he added.
Mr. Lacroix called on ambassadors to continue to support the Abyei Joint Program to promote areas of mutual interest, such as transgender, border management and mechanisms to protect women and children. and vulnerable groups.
Progress and challenges
Significant progress has been made since the program was proposed in September, and consultation with women, youth, older adults and other community members is now at an advanced stage.
Mr. Lacroix said UNISFA continues to face challenges in documenting human rights abuses due to a lack of expertise, even though a team was granted a temporary visa to undertake an assessment mission last month.
He added: “There have also been small but important advances regarding the obligations of the Parties to improve the meaningful participation of women in decision-making: in the Ngok Dinka community, a woman Women are appointed in each of the 13 traditional courts.
The humanitarian situation worsens
Mr. Lacroix further reported that the humanitarian situation in Abyei had deteriorated since his last briefing in October, with the number of people in need of aid increased from 103,000 to 240,000 VND.
This is largely due to deadly violence between the Twic Dinka and Ngok Dinka communities earlier this year that left more than 25 people dead, including two humanitarian workers.
UNISFA also supports the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JBVMM), which ensures peace in the demilitarized zone along the border between Sudan and South Sudan.
A new force is present at the locations of the JBVMM that is operational and ready to operate in all areas previously agreed upon by the parties.
Mr. Lacroix concluded by emphasizing the need to ensure the safety and security of the UNISFA peacekeeping force. Patrols have suffered three direct attacks in the past two months alone, including one last week involving a rocket-propelled grenade.