United Nations: The UN Security Council voted unanimously to revise the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission in conflict-torn South Sudan, the force to?which India is the single largest troop contributor, giving priority to the task of protecting civilians in the world`s newest nation.
The 15-nation Council adopted a resolution yesterday that extended the peacekeeping mission till November 30 this year and authorized it to use "all?necessary means" to protect civilians, monitor and investigate human rights, create the conditions for delivery of humanitarian assistance and support the?implementation of the cessation of hostilities agreement.
The Council requested the UN mission to focus and streamline its activities, across its military, police and civilian components in order to achieve progress on the?above-mentioned tasks, and recognized that "certain Mission tasks will therefore be ceased."
Currently 2,311 Indian military and police personnel are deployed in the troubled nation. Last year seven Indian soldiers deployed at the peacekeeping mission were killed in attacks in Jonglei State and Akobo.
Ban welcomed the adoption of the resolution as well as the deployment within UNMISS of an Intergovernmental Authority on Development task force to support protection of civilians and the Monitoring and Verification Mechanism established pursuant to a January 2014 Cessation of Hostilities Agreement.
Ban "underlined the importance of new mandate to peace and security in South Sudan and reiterates that every effort be made by potential contributors to deploy all troops, police and enablers to the Mission, as soon as possible," a statement issued by his spokesperson said.
He reminded the parties of their primary responsibility o protect civilians from violence and end impunity and to show the political will necessary to advance the political process and provide their full cooperation to UNMISS.
The authorized troop and police strengths of the mission would remain 12,500 and 1,323, respectively, as was decided by the Council in December 2013 after?political infighting between President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar turned into a full-fledged conflict that has uprooted over one million people.
The Council also endorsed the recommendations made by UN chief Ban Ki-moon in a recent report to increase the overall force levels of UNMISS to?support its restructured mandate.
In line with its mandate, UNMISS has been protecting between 75,000 and 80,000 civilians who have sought safety at its bases around the country for months?since the violence began.
The Council emphasized that the protection of civilians must be given priority in decisions about the use of available?capacity and resources within the Mission.
It also condemned "in the strongest terms" attacks on and threats made to UNMISS personnel and UN facilities, including violations of the Status of Forces Agreement, and stressed that such attacks may constitute war crimes.