September 9, 2020 (Thessherald)–South Sudan stands at the crossroads of genocide as the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) prepares to withdraw its forces from Protection Of Civilians sites across the country, according to a regional analyst.
“The decision to withdraw UNMISS forces from POC sites without proper security arrangements, would not only have detrimental effects on the lives of millions of people currently seeking shelter at UNMISS camps, but it could lead to genocide,” said an observer in a statement seen by Thessherald.
On Friday, the head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, David Shearer, said that plans are underway for the gradual withdrawal of the Mission’s forces and police from Protection of Civilian (POCs) sites in Bor and Wau towns, respectively.
“This process involves two steps. First, as we have done in Wau and Bor, is the withdrawal of our forces from the sites. The second is the re-designation of that site so that it transfers to the sovereign control of South Sudan,” David Shearer said. “When that occurs, the sites are no longer POC sites but camps for internally displaced people under the jurisdiction of the government.”
“I want to emphasize those points. It’s just that the sites will no longer be under our jurisdiction but will be, as I said, IDP sites like so many other IDP sites across the country,” he added.
The UN official explains that once the Mission’s forces withdraw from the sites, the South Sudan National Police will be responsible for providing security for the country’s displaced population.
South Sudan’s government and opposition groups signed a peace agreement in September 2018, paving the way for IDPs and refugees to return home, but insecurity and improper security arrangements remain a challenge.