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RJMEC Quarterly Report to IGAD on the status of implementation of the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan from 1st April 2019 to 30th June 2019 - Report No. 003/19 Juba, South Sudan

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Executive Summary

This Report of the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC) on the status of implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) covers the period from 1st April to 30th June 2019. It highlights the prevailing political, security, humanitarian, and economic situation in the country and pays close attention to the progress being made by the Agreement institutions and mechanisms to implement their mandate as envisaged during the Pre-Transitional Period.

In addition, the Report highlights the activities undertaken by the agreement institutions and implementation mechanisms, which are charged with implementing the Pre-Transitional Period tasks outlined in the R-ARCSS. Further, it details the engagement of the RJMEC leadership with the Parties, stakeholders and adherents, and guarantors of the R-ARCSS, the international community, and other interested institutions. Finally, it makes some key observations and offers recommendations for remedial action to ensure effective implementation of the Agreement.

The political and security situation in the Republic of South Sudan remains generally favourable to the successful implementation of the R-ARCSS. This is underpinned by the continued observance of the Permanent Ceasefire and an absence of armed conflict between the Parties.
Where there were heightened tensions, they were in the context of longstanding intercommunal differences often manifested in violent cattle rustling incidents. For the three-month reporting period, there were no additional reports of investigated and verified Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV), even as the authorities stepped up efforts to address the problem.

Humanitarian access to the population greatly improved as aid agencies continued to provide for close to seven (7) million South Sudanese residents, who are considered to be food insecure.
The number of displaced persons remained at an estimated 4 million of which 1.9 million are within South Sudan and the remainder in the neighbouring countries of Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia,
Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Owing to the generally improved security situation, a small number of the internally displaced started to voluntarily return to their homes.

During the reporting period, the process of reconstituting the Disarmament Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) Commission got underway. Also, the Independent Boundaries Commission (IBC) concluded their work but did not reach consensus on its mandate to consider the number of States of the Republic of South Sudan, their boundaries, the composition and restructuring of the Council of States. In view of the unfinished Pre-Transitional tasks, particularly as it relates to cantonment, the Parties agreed to extend the Pre-Transitional Period by six months to 11th November 2019. This decision was also ratified by the IGAD Council of Ministers.

In view of the unimplemented R-ARCSS activities of the Pre-Transitional Period, particularly cantonment, training and unification of forces, the Parties agreed in their meeting held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 2nd – 3rd May 2019, to extend the Pre-Transitional Period by six months to 11th November 2019 to enable them to expedite the implementation. This decision was welcomed and endorsed by the IGAD Council of Ministers at its 67th Extra-ordinary Session of 7th May 2019, held in Juba South Sudan.

Following the extension, the Agreement institutions and mechanisms revised the implementation schedules of the activities of the Pre-Transitional Period accordingly. A number of identified sites were verified as suitable for cantonment of forces whereas a few others were not deemed suitable. That notwithstanding, operationalization of cantonment of forces and selection and training of the Necessary Unified Forces (NUFs) did not commence due to delayed disbursement of funds to the transitional security mechanisms and provision of the requisite logistics (provision of food, water and medicines) to the sites. More so, some elements of the armed forces continued to occupy some civilian centres notwithstanding the orders from the Joint Defence Board (JDB) to them to vacate them by the 15th June 2019 deadline.

The National Pre-Transitional Committee (NPTC) continues to play a critical role in coordinating the implementation of the activities of the Pre-Transitional Period. A key aspect of that responsibility is the sourcing of requisite funding for the security implementing mechanisms. In that regard, the NPTC after receiving US $10 million from the ITGoNU made available US $2 million to the JDB to facilitate the various mechanisms to enable them to expedite the process of cantonment.

The National Constitutional Amendment Committee completed the review of the national security laws, which was started in the previous quarter. These were the National Security Service Act 2014 (Amendment) Bill, 2019 and the Political Parties Act, 2012 (Amendment) Bill 2019, which were presented to the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.

The transitional security mechanisms led by the JDB continued to prepare for cantonment, selection and training of the NUFs. With the support of RJMEC, the security mechanisms engaged in strengthening their technical capacities through a series of workshops. Besides, the Joint Military Ceasefire Committee (JMCC) completed the training of Area Joint Military Ceasefire Committees (AJMCCs) and Joint Military Ceasefire (JMC) teams, in preparation for cantonment. The Joint Transitional Security Committee (JTSC) also completed the syllabus for the training of all the organized forces of the NUF except National Security Services.

To support wide dissemination of the R-ARCSS, the RJMEC completed the work it began in the previous quarter, including printing and distribution of summaries of the R-ARCSS in English and classical Arabic. Audio recordings of public service announcements in English, Juba Arabic, Dinka, Nuer, Bari, Zande and Collo (Shilluk) have been aired out in various electronic media outlets. Furthermore, RJMEC continued to distribute to the public thousands of reprinted copies of the R-ARCSS.

Important Pre-Transitional Period tasks that were started previously and continue apace include dissemination of the R-ARCSS, delivery of humanitarian assistance, release of political prisoners and detainees, and disengagement of forces, and the beginning of a process of national healing and reconciliation. However, key pending tasks include: (i) cantonment and training of unified forces; (ii) reconstituting of the DDR Commission; and (iii) the appointment of an RJMEC Chairperson.

In order to fully operationalise the cantonment within the remaining Pre-Transitional Period, it is important that the authorities avail the necessary resources to the mechanisms, which have shown their readiness to carry out the tasks. Besides, regional countries and the African Union High Level Ad-hoc Committee on South Sudan (C5) should make good on their promises to avail support to the cantonment process. The former combatants also demonstrated their readiness to report to the cantonment sites and those efforts should be encouraged and supported.