UN threatens to blacklist peace spoilers in S. Sudan, warns arms’ suppliers

Vice-President Taban Deng Gai | Courtesy Photo

Geneva—On Friday, the United Nations Security Council threatened to blacklist anyone deemed as peace spoilers in South Sudan and warned all member states against supplying illegal firearms to South Sudan.

“Extending the mandate of the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) until 15 March 2022, the Security Council demanded today that all parties to the conflict in that country and other armed actors immediately stop fighting and engage in political dialogue, in accordance with the peace agreement signed in 2018,” said the UNSC in its resolutions dated March 12, 2021.

“The Council expressed its intention to consider all appropriate measures against those whose actions undermine peace, stability and security, and demanded that all Member States comply with their obligations to prevent the supply, sale or transfer of arms and related materiel, as set out in previous resolutions.”

The UN Security Council called on donor countries to intensify humanitarian aid to South Sudan.

The UN encouraged firm engagement by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the African Union Peace and Security Council, and countries in the region to find a durable solution to South Sudan’s peace and security challenges, while calling upon the international community to scale up its humanitarian response.

While extending the mandate of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, the Council members called on all actors to respect human rights in the country.

“Today’s resolution goes on to demand that all parties to the conflict immediately cease all forms of violence, human rights violations and abuses, and violations of international humanitarian law, including rape and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence, and to hold those responsible to account. It also demands that all parties and other armed actors prevent further acts of sexual violence.”

Tigray community hails UN, S. Sudan for saving their sons from “death-trap”

Ethiopian contingent serving under the mandate of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan |Photo: Courtesy

Members of the Tigray community in the United States issued a brief statement this evening, commending the South Sudanese authorities and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for protecting their sons from what they described as a premeditated “death trap” planned by the Abiy administration.

“We appreciate the Republic of South Sudan and UNHCR for providing protection to our sons after the Ethiopian government had premeditated a “death trap” against them as part of the ongoing Genocide in the Tigray region,” the diaspora community lauded South Sudan in a brief statement extended to Thessherald.

On Monday, a bitter fist fight ensued at Juba International Airport after 15 members of the Ethiopian contingent refused to board a plane, citing fear for their lives.

The brief fighting between the Ethiopian troops serving under the mandate of the United Nations Mission has been confirmed by a top UN official.

“This morning, 169 members of the Ethiopian contingent were due to rotate out of Juba and (be) replaced by fresh contingents, a part of a normal rotation,” said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric during his daily press conference.

“We’re trying to get the details, but I do understand about 15 members of the contingent chose not to board the flight at the Juba airport… They’ve asked to stay,” he said, adding that “any person in need of international protection has the right to seek asylum.”

“They are receiving support from the South Sudanese Ministry of Refugee Affairs,” Dujarric continued, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is “aware” of the situation and in contact with South Sudanese authorities.

PM Abiy to deport hundreds of Tigrayan Blue Helmets from South Sudan

The Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, has been accused of targeting Tigrayan peacekeepers operating under the mandate of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

Thousands of people, mostly from the Tigray region, have taken to social media urging the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, to intervene and condemn the decision being taken by the Ethiopian government.

“Abiy Ahmed has been ethnically profiling Tigrayan origin UN peacekeepers stationed in South Sudan; he’s planing to forcefully return large number of Tigrayan peacekeepers to Ethiopia starting tomorrow —UN needs to intervene and ensure their safety.”

Last year, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, strongly condemned and denounced reports of ethnic profiling against Tigrayan communities in various parts of Ethiopia by the security forces.

“There is an urgent need for independent monitoring of the human rights situation in the Tigray region, all necessary measures to protect civilians, and accountability for violations.”

“We have reports that particularly areas surrounding towns like Mekelle, Sherero, Axum, Abiy Addi, and the borders between the Amhara and Tigray regions, fighting continues between federal forces and the TPLF (Tigray People’s Liberation Front), and affiliated militias on both sides,” Bachelet told a news conference in Geneva.

Since the outbreak of violence in 2020, thousands are believed to have bee killed and millions displaced from their homes.

UN to audit S. Sudan’s oil sector to cross-check loopholes of corruption

President Salva Kiir Mayardit | Photo: File

To identify loopholes of corruption in the world’s youngest nation, the United Nations Security Council has asked Chinese oil companies to provide detailed information on the country’s oil revenues used by the government over the past two years.

“The Panel seeking clarification on the financial transactions that DPOC has made to the government and Nilepet. The Panel is seeking detailed responses because the Panel has received information that DPOC has not remitted the payment to the Bank of South Sudan for yearly surface rental fees,” said Mr. Emilio Manfredi, the Coordinator Panel of Experts on South Sudan.

In a letter addressed to South Sudan’s authorities, the UN Panel of experts are extremely “concerned that the public revenue Nilepet has earned from its eight percent stake in the consortium has not been transferred from DPOC accounts transparently.”

“In pursuit of its mandate, the Panel is requesting information pertaining to Dar Petroleum Operating Company (DPOC), in which the Government of the Republic of South Sudan has a stake through Nile Petroleum Corporation (Nilepet).”

The UN officials expressed concern about widespread corruption and mismanagement of the country’s public resources by high-ranking government officials who continue to enrich themselves at the expense of their citizens.

South Sudan and Somalia top the list of the world’s most corrupt countries on the Corruption Perceptions Index, according to a recent report released by Transparency International.

As a result of misappropriation of public resources, the international community and donor countries have been reluctant to release funding needed for the implementation of the peace agreement.

UN expert calls on FBI to investigate the death of US journalist Christopher Allen

FBI SWAT members captured while on duty | Photo: FBI

A UN human rights expert has called on the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to probe into the killing of American journalist Christopher Allen and hold the perpetrators responsible.

Christopher, a young American freelance journalist, was brutally murdered in late August 2017 in the line of duty, but the government has since denied any responsibility.

“The fact that for three whole years there has been no independent investigation into Mr. Allen’s killing sends a very dangerous signal that journalists and media workers can be targeted with impunity,” said Agnes Callamard, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

The UN expert urged the South Sudanese government and the United Nations to work together and identify the culprits responsible for his killing.

“The governments of South Sudan and the United States can and must take steps to ensure that the circumstances of Mr. Allen’s murder are fully, independently and fearlessly investigated,” she said in a statement.

She appealed to the US security service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to discharge its mandate and obligations by investigating possible war crimes believed to have been committed against Allen.

“The FBI has a duty, both legal and moral, to investigate Mr. Allen’s killing because of well-founded suspicions that war crimes may have been committed by members of South Sudanese forces,” she said.

“Mr. Allen’s murder is indicative of the wider climate of hostility towards journalists in the country,” she said.
The rapporteur noted she had written to the South Sudanese authorities on January 30 this year asking about an investigation but had received no response.

Achai Wiir denies saving South Sudan from UN debt-trap

A South Sudanese businesswoman and philanthropist, Achai Wiir, has vehemently denied bailing out South Sudan after defaulting on UN membership fees totaling 22,804 dollars.

In response to the allegations on social media, Achai Wiir said that she does not support anyone or any political party in the country and has nothing to do with South Sudan’s politics.

As you all know, I don’t associate with politics or in any manner and I will stand with it,” said Achai Wiir, a businesswoman and philanthropist.

Achai Wiir wears a T-shirt labeled SKM an acronym that stands for Salva Kiir Mayardit | Photo/ Courtesy

Last year, the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres announced that nine African countries, including South Sudan, had lost their voting rights as required under the UN Charter after defaulting on membership fees contributed annually as UN’s operating budget.

Last week, the South Sudanese government confirmed, in a statement that, it had regained the right to vote as a member of the United Nations after paying its dues.

“The Ministry of finance has cleared the outstanding contributions and fees for the UN,” said Deng Dau, a South Sudanese official. “So, South Sudan has the right place in the international community.”

The United Nations has an annual operating budget of $3.2 billion, and every member state has an obligation to pay their annual contributions in order to maintain their membership.

UN calls for swift formation of Hybrid Court for South Sudan

The United Nations Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten | Photo: UN

The United Nations Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten, has called for the immediate formation of the AU Hybrid Court for South Sudan to hold accountable individuals accused of having committed acts of sexual violence during the conflict.

“The United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary- General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten, welcomes the announcement by the Government of South Sudan to establish transitional justice institutions provided for under Chapter V of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS), and calls on the Government to expedite their establishment,” the UN diplomat said in its statement.

The Special Representative noted that the timely establishment of Chapter V institutions, including the long-awaited African Union Hybrid Court, which are envisioned to investigate and prosecute individuals bearing responsibility for violations of international law and/or applicable domestic law will be a strong signal that such crimes, including acts of sexual violence will not be tolerated, that those responsible will be held accountable, and that the needs of survivors and communities will be addressed.

The Special Representative further underscored the importance of adhering to the 35 per cent quota for women’s representation in government institutions, including Chapter V institutions, in line with the revitalized peace agreement.

The UN official urged Southern Sudan leaders to devise an approach focusing on sexual and gender-based violence that would undoubtedly address sexual violence committed during the war.

“As the Government of South Sudan moves forward with establishing transitional justice and peacebuilding processes, I call on the authorities to adopt a survivor-centered approach. Survivors of sexual violence, their families and communities have a central role to play”, emphasized the Special Representative.

“My Office stands ready to support the Government and its partners in their efforts to strengthen prevention and response to sexual violence and ensure that the prosecution of these grave crimes takes place in a timely and transparent manner.”

S. Sudan: Extreme hunger looms on the horizon, UN rings alarm bells

Extreme hunger looms on the horizon, OCHA warns |Photo: © OCHA
Extreme hunger looms on the horizon, OCHA warns |Photo: © OCHA

In a new report released today, the United Nations for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has predicted that more than 8.3 million people are expected to face extreme food insecurity in the next few months.

“Some 8.3 million people in South Sudan are estimated to be in need of humanitarian assistance in 2021, including 310,000 refugees and asylum seekers. This is an increase from the 7.5 million people in need in 2020,” the UN agency said in its report seen by Thessherald.

The United Nations blames the rising level of food insecurity on the armed conflict and global climate change that continues to plunder the entire world.

“Humanitarian needs in South Sudan are mainly driven by the impacts of years of conflict and exacerbated by the impact of climate change,” the report said, adding that “Hunger is growing, with more than 7.2 million people projected to be severely food insecure during 2021, and with some communities facing catastrophic levels of food insecurity.”

“COVID-19 has had a devastating and multi-faceted socioeconomic impact on people, including severe economic contractions, spikes in prices of basic commodities, loss of livelihoods particularly in urban areas, increased protection risks, and disrupted access to basic services.”

“The already serious humanitarian situation has been compounded by severe flooding, affecting approximately 1 million people each year in 2019 and 2020. The South Sudanese people also continue to be highly vulnerable to epidemic diseases, due to low immunization coverage, a weak health system and poor hygiene and sanitation. Conflict, insecurity and natural disasters have displaced nearly 4 million people since 2013.”

UN decries killing of aid workers, urges authorities to apprehend perpetrators

Alain Noudéhou, the Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan |Photo: File
Alain Noudéhou, the Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan |Photo: File

November 4, 2020 (Thessherald)–The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has strongly condemned the increasing and targeted killing of aid workers in the country and urged concerned authorities to investigate the incident and hold those responsible to account.

This comes after an aid worker was killed by a group of armed youth, just a day after another humanitarian staff lost his life while in the line of duty.

Alain Noudéhou, the Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan, expressed deep concern and condemned increasing acts of violence against aid workers in the country.

“I am appalled by these repeated acts of violence against humanitarians. South Sudanese aid workers are enduring difficult conditions to deliver lifesaving assistance to their fellow citizens and should be protected,” he said.

“These two humanitarian workers killed in the past week were South Sudanese and were delivering critical nutrition services to vulnerable people affected by local conflicts and flooding,” said Noudéhou in a statement.

He appealed to relevant authorities to identify the killers and hold them accountable for their actions.

“The violence and the impunity must stop. We need safety and security of the people receiving and delivering aid.”

Last month, a community-based staff working for Nile Hope, a South Sudanese non-governmental organization, in Canal/Pigi County in Jonglei State was fatally shot by armed youth.

“He was on his way from the organization’s base to a facility providing supplementary feeding and outpatient therapeutic care to malnourished children and new mothers. His colleague escaped with minor injuries. All humanitarian services have been temporarily suspended in the area following the shooting.”

The incident brings the number of humanitarian workers killed this year in South Sudan to nine – this is three times the total number of humanitarians who lost their lives in the country in 2019. A total of 124 aid workers, mostly South Sudanese, have lost their lives in the line of duty since the conflict broke out in late 2013.

UN Humanitarian Coordinator Mr. Alain condemns attack on WFP convoy

Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan condemns the attack on a WFP boat-convoy in Lakes and calls for an immediate end to repeated acts of violence

Mr. Alain Noudéhou, the Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan
Mr. Alain Noudéhou, the Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan |Photo: File

Press Release

Oct 7, 2020 (Thessherald)–Mr. Alain Noudéhou, Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan, has strongly condemned an unprovoked attack on a WFP boat-convoy on the River Nile in Lakes State, and called for an end to repeated acts of violence which are disrupting life-saving assistance to flood-affected people.

On 5 October, a WFP boat-convoy carrying food for vulnerable people was ambushed by armed actors close to Shambe town in Lakes. The convoy was transporting food from Bor to people affected by floods in Melut and Malakal, Upper Nile.

The impact of the gunfire resulted in one cargo vessel being sunk with its cargo of much needed humanitarian supplies.

During this attack, three of the cargo vessel staff suffered gunshot injuries and one person is missing and presumed killed.

“The violence against humanitarian workers must stop. I strongly condemn this attack on a humanitarian convoy that was transporting food to flood-affected people.

Perpetrators must be brought to justice. I call upon the Government and all parties to protect humanitarians and people supporting the efforts to provide assistance to the millions of people who are in need,” said Mr. Noudéhou.

Some 800,000 people have been affected by flooding in South Sudan since July. A total of 37 of counties out of 78 are affected with many areas still underwater and people are unable to tend to their lands and livestock. An estimated 368,000 have been displaced. Women and children are the most affected.

“I stand by WFP and all humanitarians working on the frontline to provide life-saving assistance. Humanitarians workers continue to work in difficult conditions to reach communities affected by the floods, but we need unimpeded access and be able to work in a safe environment.” Noudéhou concluded.

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