United Nations Undersecretary-General, Jean Pierre Lacroix

UN peacekeeping chief warns of election violence in South Sudan

March 5, 2024 (NEW YORK) – Elections in South Sudan carry risks of violence which could have disastrous consequences on the country, the United Nations Undersecretary-General for Peace Operations said on Tuesday.

Jean Pierre Lacroix was briefing the Security Council after visiting South Sudan last month.

He said adequate resources are necessary to address the aspirations of the people of South Sudan as elections approach.

There have already been several calls for a democratic and transparent polls.

There are differences between the rival political factions in the readiness of the country for elections in December 2024, Lacroix told the Security Council, adding that a myriad of factors will likely affect elections in South Sudan.

A fledgling economy has intensified fights over resources and led to high unemployment, particularly impacting the youth. In addition, political competition among the ruling elite, increased intercommunal clashes and the added strain inflicted by the influx of returnees and refugees escaping the conflict in neighboring Sudan have all combined toward an assessment that elections, when held, are going to take place in an environment of elevated tensions and a constrained civic and political space in the country, he said.

“Therefore, if not managed carefully, they carry the potential for violence with disastrous consequences for an already fragile country and the wider region,” said Lacroix.

The impact of the conflict in Sudan deserves special attention. Over two-thirds of South Sudanese citizens remain dependent on international assistance for their basic needs with women and children being the most vulnerable, he said.

Lacroix said the South Sudanese economy is overwhelmingly dependent on oil revenues that will stall, should the conflict in Sudan affect oil flow to Port Sudan.

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