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What is UNMISS?

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) was established by the Security Council in July 2011 to consolidate peace and security and to help establish conditions for development in the country, which gained its independence from Sudan that same month.

On 15 December 2013, violence broke out in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, and quickly spread to other locations in the country, resulting in a nationwide political and security crisis as well as a sharp deterioration in the humanitarian situation. In the midst of the violence, tens of thousands of civilians arrived at UN bases around the country seeking protection. Despite the challenges and the strain on the Mission’s resources, UNMISS opened its doors and worked with humanitarian partners to provide sufficient assistance to the displaced persons.

In the wake of the crisis, the Security Council reprioritized the Mission’s mandate towards the protection of civilians, human rights monitoring and support for the delivery of humanitarian assistance. UNMISS was also tasked with supporting the implementation of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement following the conflict that began in December 2013.


Ellen Margrethe Løj of Denmark serves as the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for South Sudan and head of UNMISS. The two Deputy Special Representatives are Moustapha Soumaré of Mali (Political Affairs) and Eugene Owusu of Ghana (Humanitarian).

The Force Commander of UNMISS is Lieutenant-General Yohannes Gebremeskel Tesfamariam of Ethiopia.

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