The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) held talks with the South Sudanese government on Wednesday to discuss the humanitarian progress made in the past year, and the large amount of remaining work to be done.
Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRGS) Hilde F. Johnson (pictured above) led the talks, reviewing the nation’s most recent successes. Among them are it’s implementation of a Constitutional Review process to properly handle civil and public criminal and corruption cases. Additionally, the Sudanese government has launched a national reconciliation initiative in order to restore national pride among its people and hopefully mitigate ethnic conflicts.
With assistance from UNMISS and the international humanitarian community, South Sudan has also put in place other key democratizing reforms including in the overhaul of its police force and the founding of a national Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) Council. UNMISS has also partnered with the World Health Organization (WHO) to sponsor food stability and mid-wife training programs.
That said however, SRGS Johnson remarked that UNMISS remained highly disturbed at the treatment of journalists in the country. Many accounts of threats, harassment and even attacks have been reported over the past year. According to Johnson protection of civilians represents the core of UNMISS’s mandate in the area, therefore they are working with South Sudan to implement a pilot program entitled the UN Plan of Action. The new initiative will work to ensure the safety and impunity of journalists working in the country as well as other foreign and domestic civilians.
Photo: UN Multimedia