Today, the German Government decided to extend the Bundeswehr mandate for UNMISS – the Bundestag has still to give its approval.
Ongoing instability and humanitarian suffering
Since gaining its independence ten years ago, South Sudan has experienced almost uninterrupted unrest. Protracted armed conflicts despite there being a ceasefire in force, political instability and a persistent economic crisis, as well as climate change, the desert locust plague in 2020, droughts, flooding and the spread of COVID‑19 have made it impossible for people to lead normal lives.
The continuing violence between armed groups has had a considerable impact on international support for South Sudan: the country remains one of the most dangerous locations in the world for humanitarian aid workers. However, people are in urgent need of assistance with around two thirds of the over 12 million inhabitants dependent on humanitarian assistance.
The long road to peace
The peace process, which began with the peace agreement of 2018 and was intended to reconcile the country and prevent further bloodshed, is progressing slowly. The international community is striving to safeguard what has been achieved so far, to strengthen and sustainably shape the peace process and thus to help bring stability to the country in the long term. The UN peace mission UNMISS is key to this. Its mandate comprises four areas:
- protecting the civilian population
- safeguarding humanitarian assistance
- supporting the peace process
- promoting human rights
Continuing Germany’s engagement
Germany has been involved in the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMISS) and in the preceding United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) since 2005. Today (10 February), the German Government decided to extend the mandate for the Bundeswehr’s participation in UNMISS by a further year. The Bundeswehr has sent individual staff members to UN staff posts and Headquarters and has seconded experts. You can find out more about its concrete involvement at bundeswehr.de. The Bundestag must now debate and decide on the extension of the mandate.
South Sudan is one of the focuses of Germany’s humanitarian aid efforts: in 2020, Germany made available around 70 million euro for humanitarian measures. The support focused on emergency food aid as well as protective and hygiene measures for internally displaced persons and refugees, both in South Sudan and in neighbouring countries. The assistance also helped to mitigate the impact of the locust plague and the COVID‑19 pandemic.
The German Government is sending an important message with its support for UNMISS and its continued humanitarian engagement: even in the tenth year of South Sudan’s independence and despite many setbacks, Germany will remain committed to helping people in the country as well as to fostering peace and stability there and in the neighbouring Sudan.