Washington, D.C. (Sept. 7, 2016) — Statement from Peter Yeo, President of the Better World Campaign: “The decision by the Government of South Sudan to accept 4,000 new UN peacekeepers is a positive development in an otherwise bleak landscape. Having led a congressional delegation to South Sudan last October, I’ve seen firsthand that additional peacekeepers can play a role in restoring an element of peace and security to an otherwise chaotic and fluid political environment that threatens civilians. However, if the Government of South Sudan continues to place severe restrictions on the movement of UN peacekeepers, then the new troops will not have the desired impact on security in Juba.
“It is a testament to the tenacity of the UN Mission that it continues to protect nearly 200,000 South Sudanese civilians, despite dealing with a government which has moved from partner to predator.
“The attacks by government soldiers on international aid workers and South Sudanese civilians in July were unconscionable. Those responsible for these horrendous crimes must be punished. At the same time, the UN is rightly investigating its own tepid response to the July attacks on aid workers and civilians to determine how peacekeepers could have intervened.
“There are some questions the UN Mission in South Sudan and the Security Council must consider as it considers paths forward. Is the mission willing and able to engage in active combat with the Government of South Sudan soldiers to protect civilians? What happens if the Government then kicks the UN peacekeepers out of the country, exposing hundreds of thousands of civilians to a hostile government?
“These are the types of questions that must be addressed in the coming days if the important agreement made over the past week between the Security Council and Government is to become actionable on the ground.”
About the Better World Campaign
The Better World Campaign works to foster a strong relationship between the U.S. and the UN to promote core American interests and build a more secure, prosperous, and healthy world. The Better World Campaign engages policymakers, the media, and the American public alike to increase awareness of the critical role played by the UN in world affairs and the importance of constructive U.S.-UN relations.