CARE urges major reform not just criticism of the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan

CARE welcomes the report published today looking into the UN Mission in South Sudan’s (UNMISS) failure to act during the July 2016 conflicts that broke out in Juba, but worries that it does not go far enough.

To support the implementation of the peace agreement and the free flow of humanitarian aid to help the 5.1 million people in need it is vital to have the full implementation of the UNMISS mandate. If additional peacekeepers are to be added, then there needs to be a real change in how they view the mandate and their responsibility to respond and individual troops need to be properly trained in how to prevent and respond to sexual violence.

According to CARE South Sudan Country Director Fred McCray; “there is a need for proactive patrolling and efforts to protect rather than simply respond. UNMISS should take a key leadership role in establishing norms to ensure a longer term trickle down emphasis on protection among the general population if the eradication of violence against civilians in in this fledgling nation is to be achieved.”

McCray says; “given the volatile and fluid nature of the South Sudan situation – it is crucial to have combat ready peacekeepers who will engage if and when necessary, and without delay, to protect the people of South Sudan. These troops need to be rapidly deployable to any part of the country and fully equipped with essential equipment if they are to be at all successful.”

McCray adds, “currently, only 4,000 troops of the current 12,000 strong contingent are combat troops, which begs the question: what are the rest of them doing here?”

“Countries that contribute to the budget of peacekeeping forces have to take more of a responsibility to change and enforce mandates in order to see a return on their investments,” says McCray, “if not, there are alternative ways of spending the US $1bn a year spent on peacekeeping forces in South Sudan, such as on food aid, healthcare services and livelihood development that might be more meaningful for the South Sudanese people.”

One of the biggest problems among peacekeeping forces here in South Sudan and more generally, is that they have divided loyalties between their UN commanders and their capitals; often deferring to national commanders over the official UN command chain. Troops need to be empowered by their national governments to be able to respond quickly, otherwise nothing will change,” adds McCray.


To arrange an interview with CARE spokespeople in South Sudan or Canada, contact:

Darcy Knoll
Communications Specialist | CARE Canada | +1.613.790.2134