June 22, 2024

UN Secretary-General Guterres’ April 8 Negative Assessment of Preconditions for Elections in South Sudan 

UN Secretary-General Guterres’ April 8 Negative Assessment of Preconditions for Elections in South Sudan 

UN Secretary-General Guterres’ April 8 letter, in which he enumerated over a dozen critical preconditions necessary to hold genuine and peaceful elections that the South Sudan transitional government has yet to meet, is a clear message to the Security Council.  Despite significant international support, including identification of key election issues by the United Nations, African Union, and Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the letter demonstrates that President Salva Kiir, First Vice President Riek Machar, and other South Sudanese political leaders have thus far collectively failed to meet the standards necessary for genuine and peaceful elections to take place in December.

The United States remains concerned about ongoing reports of human rights violations, as well as inadequate investment in key democratic institutions.  Transitional government leaders should act with urgency to address these deficiencies and create the necessary preconditions for a genuine and peaceful electoral process, including by protecting civic space, standing up politically neutral security forces, strengthening electoral institutions, and holding dialogue among leaders to resolve outstanding election decisions.  UN electoral support should focus on establishing these preconditions.  The longer South Sudan’s leaders avoid taking these steps, the greater the risk of additional violence.   An estimated 75 percent of the country’s population will require humanitarian assistance this year alone as a result of ongoing violence.

U.S. engagement with the people of South Sudan, which began decades before the country’s independence, remains focused on shared values of peace, democracy, human rights, and government’s duty to respond to the needs of its people.  Strong U.S. advocacy for the necessary preconditions for a genuine and peaceful electoral process is designed to avoid a return to civil war.

Official news published at https://www.state.gov/un-secretary-general-guterres-april-8-negative-assessment-of-preconditions-for-elections-in-south-sudan/