UN calls for fair elections in South Sudan

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The special envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General, Nicholas Hayson, for South Sudan, Saturday, called on political parties to participate in the 2024 elections, carrying out a fair and inclusive campaign, without intimidation and creating fear among voters.

The Government of National Unity was unable to implement many of the main provisions set out in the 2018 Peace Agreement (which ended the civil war in the country), leaving serious doubts among the international community as to whether the elections will be held on the scheduled date.

“South Sudan needs the active participation of civil society, so that it can support civic education and act as monitors and observers of a credible process”, said António Guterres’ envoy, adding that the media must be able to inform freely with exactness, according to Efe.

“It will be impossible to predict the holding of free, fair and credible elections in December 2024 unless all South Sudanese parties, leaders and stakeholders grab the bull by the horns and agree on crucial measures by the first quarter of 2024”, he added.

South Sudanese are expected to go to the polls in late 2024, the first time since they gained independence from Sudan in 2011, although elections have already been postponed several times. In November, President Salva Kiir, who has governed the country since 2011, reformed several public bodies responsible for overseeing elections.

“The institutions that could make the management of elections effective and convincing for the people of South Sudan must come into force because we do not want elections that could lead to violence,” argued Hayson, stating that the United Nations is concerned about the increase in violence community, as South Sudanese authorities are regularly criticized for violating public freedoms and repressing dissenting voices and last week dozens of people died in Abiye, a disputed region on the border between Sudan and South Sudan.

South Sudan gained its independence when it separated from Sudan in 2011. However, from the end of 2013, the country entered into civil conflict, caused by the rivalry between the President, Salva Kiir, and his then Vice-President. President, Riek Machar, which resulted in the deaths of more than 380,000 people and millions of people being displaced.

In 2018, rival leaders signed a peace agreement to end the civil war, providing for a sharing of power. Despite its considerable oil resources, South Sudan is one of the least developed countries in the world.

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