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.”

Kiir says he’s pained by the suffering of his people

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir is feeling the pain and suffering of the country’s citizens who have been affected by severe food insecurity, floods and the COVID-19 pandemic, according to his recent remarks on New Year’s Eve.

“My heart goes out to those who have lost their loved ones to COVID-19 as well as those who are living in hardships as a result of the flood. While overcome by sadness, we should all be encouraged by how you, ordinary people, have maintained social harmony during this crisis,” says President Salva Kiir Mayardit in his New Year’s message.

Kiir noted that the past year has been one of the most difficult years ever, exacerbated by the global COVID-19 pandemic and the prevalence of acute food insecurity, as reported by humanitarian agencies.

“As I mentioned in my Christmas message, 2020 has been a difficult year. We were affected by COVID-19 pandemic, which continues to take human lives and exacted economic toll both in our country and across the globe. Our situation has also been worsened by floods, which have deströyed livelihood of thousands of people in our country.”

After more than six years of conflict, South Sudan remains one of the most food-insecure countries in the world.

10 states of the Republic of South Sudan | Photo: USAID/FFP

According a report issued recently by aid agencies, an estimated 6 million people—representing approximately 51 percent of South Sudan’s total population of 11.7 million—may face Crisis (IPC 3) or worse levels of acute food insecurity and require urgent food assistance between February and April this year.

Holiday message by UN Special Representative David Shearer

David Shearer is the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for South Sudan and head of the UN Mission in South Sudan | Photo: UNMISS.
Press Release | Head of UNMISS David Shearer

December 2020 (Thessherald)–This year has been one of the most challenging we may face in our lifetime given the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on all our lives, right across the world. Whether we are UNMISS peacekeepers or citizens of South Sudan, we have all suffered. Some of us have lost family, friends and colleagues to the virus.

“But COVID has also had a serious impact on our ability to carry out important activities, supporting communities across the country.”

Despite this, UNMISS has remained committed to our lifesaving and lifechanging work in South Sudan. We stand strong beside you because we know that if our work stops, many more people will die from hunger, disease and conflict. They will be lost because of COVID-19.

It’s been really pleasing to see some of the progress on the peace process this year. The Revitalized Government has been formed. States and counties have been allocated. And nine governors have been appointed. That’s all positive, although it’s taken much longer than we would have wished.

Meanwhile, many people continue to suffer because of the persistent problems plaguing the country, brought about by intercommunal conflict, flooding this year, and extreme poverty. There’s still much we need to do to protect vulnerable civilians and build peace.

I’d like to thank all of you – the people of South Sudan – for being our partner in peace, for working alongside UNMISS to build a brighter future, one that is peaceful and, ultimately, prosperous for all citizens.

I’d like to wish you a very Merry Christmas for all of you who celebrate this occasion and a peaceful new year for those who don’t. Please take care of yourselves and your families over the holiday season. I look forward to continuing our work with you in 2021.


David Shearer is the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for South Sudan and head of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

Breaking: Federal forces capture the capital, Mekelle

Nov 28, 2020 (Thessherald)–Federal forces fighting the Tigray People’s Liberation Front in the Tigray region announced their capture of the capital, Mekelle, just a few minutes ago.

“The military forces confirmed that General Birhanu Jula has fully controlled the capital, Mekelle.”


This is a developing story, check back in a few minutes for more updates!

UNICEF voices concern over the safety of innocent children in Mekelle

November 25, 2020 (Thessherald)–The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has strongly expressed its deep concern over the safety of innocent children, amid the ongoing military build-up around the capital, Mekelle.

In a strongly-worded statement, the child welfare agency stated that “threat of further escalation in Mekelle, Ethiopia, puts children’s lives at risk.”

“UNICEF urges parties to the conflict in Ethiopia to spare children from the impact of hostilities in the Tigray region, now in their third week. Some 500,000 people live in Mekelle, half of them are children. UNICEF is deeply alarmed that the two parties’ threat of a further escalation in the fighting would put their lives and well-being at immediate risk.”

The UN agency urged the federal government and Tigray leaders to end the weeks-long of fighting and resolve their differences amicably at the negotiating table.

“We call upon parties to the conflict to cease the fighting and reach a peaceful settlement. Humanitarian agencies should be allowed urgent, unimpeded and sustained access to all affected areas.

UNICEF called on the warring parties to uphold the safety of humanitarian workers who are supposed to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance to millions of people trapped in the conflict zone without adequate food and water.

“We are also concerned about the safety of hundreds of humanitarian workers who are still in Mekelle and elsewhere across Tigray. We call upon all parties to the conflict to take all necessary measures to ensure their protection.”

Canada pledges $3m in humanitarian assistance as violence continues in Ethiopia

Ethiopian refugees line up in a queue waiting to be served |Photo: CGTN

Canada | Press Release

Nov 24, 2020 (Thessherald)–Canada is deeply concerned by the humanitarian crisis caused by the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. Today, the Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of International Development, announced new support for humanitarian operations in Ethiopia and Sudan in response to the impact of growing conflict.

Canada’s commitment will provide $3 million to experienced humanitarian partners who are providing assistance to people affected by conflict within the Tigray region of Ethiopia and to those who have crossed the border seeking safety in Sudan.

This support will be provided to the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Ethiopia Humanitarian Fund, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, to respond to the urgent needs arising from this rapidly evolving crisis, including for emergency healthcare, shelter and non-food items, water and sanitation, and protection.

“Canada stands alongside our partners to deliver urgent assistance to those affected by this crisis and continues to call on all parties to ensure the protection of civilians, and rapid and unimpeded humanitarian access to those in need.”

Karina Gould, Minister of International Development

The outbreak of the conflict between the Federal Government of Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front on November 3, 2020 has led to a rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation affecting both Ethiopia and neighbouring Sudan.


Originally published by:
https://bit.ly/2J5lxaK

Ethiopian government urged to protect unarmed civilians trapped in Mekelle

TPLF troops in military show of force |Photo: File

Nov 23rd, 2020 (Thessherald)–A South Sudanese journalist, Buay Kapduel, has urged the Ethiopian federal government to protect the civilian population, including foreigners trapped in the Tigray region, more specifically in the capital, Mekelle.

“The Ethiopian government is obligated to protect its citizens, regardless of their ethnic background or political affiliation. Launching large-scale military operations and using tanks and artillery against unarmed civilians in the city in an attempt to drive off dissident leaders is detrimental, and would certainly amount to war crimes,” said the S. Sudanese journalist who’s monitoring the situation in Kenya.

Buay Kapduel

Buay, who resides in Kenya, has lost contact with his family members who have been trapped in the capital, Mekelle – since the government cut off phone communications and internet connections on November 4.

“So far, we do not know their fate – the Ethiopian government needs to understand that there are other innocent people in that region who have the right to protection under international humanitarian law.”

“The Federal Government can use certain or other means and methods of warfare to flush out their enemies [the TPLF forces] but they can’t consider the whole city [Mekelle] as a legitimate military target – it will end up harming civilians who are not taking a direct part in the ongoing fighting in the Tigray region.”

“Based on the statement attributed to the top FDRE commander, there’s a possibility of ethnic cleansing in the whole region, if not genocide, unless the United Nations nips this unfolding situation in the bud,” he warned.

Buay Kapduel

The journalist called on United Nations agencies and the International Committee of the Red Cross to identify and protect foreigners caught up in the Ethiopian conflict by establishing a temporary protection camp in the city until the African Union brings the warring parties to the negotiating table.

“I have been monitoring this situation in very closely –at first, we thought it would be a “law enforcement operation” as the prime minister described it, but now it appears to be a collective operation which will not distinguish civilians from combatants,” Buay added.

On Sunday, an Ethiopian military commander warned that there would be no ‘mercy‘ if civilians do not flee the city.

“From now on, the fighting will be a tank battle,” spokesman Colonel Dejene Tsegaye said late Saturday, asserting that the army was marching on the Tigray capital, Mekele, and would encircle it with tanks. “Our people in Mekele should be notified that they should protect themselves from heavy artillery.”

The top military officer accused the Tigray leaders of using the civilian population as human shields.

On Sunday, the rights watchdog, Human Rights Watch, condemned the statement and said the action may constitute war crimes.

“Treating a whole city as a military target would not only unlawful, it could also be considered a form of collective punishment,” Human Rights Watch researcher Laetitia Bader tweeted Sunday.

HRW

Drone airstrikes hit capital Mekelle, injured university students

November 19, 2020 (Thessherald)–An Ethiopian government air strike injured many university students on Thursday in the capital of the northern Tigray region, rebel forces said in a Facebook post.

The Facebook post was accompanied by several photos that appeared to show adults with injuries in Mekelle. Reuters was unable to authenticate the photos or reach independent sources for verification because all phone lines and internet to the Tigray region is down, although a few leaders have satellite connections.

The government did not immediately respond to requests for comment although it has previously denied bombing civilian targets.

The airstrike took place around 12:45 pm, the Facebook post said, in the Meles Academy University, where “it resulted in heavy casualties of many university students and other civilians.”

The post said it was the fourth airstrike on Mekelle. The government has previously denied bombing the city center and said it has only attacked military targets on the outskirts.

A two-week-old war between the federal government and the forces of the northern Tigray region has killed hundreds, sent 30,000 refugees into Sudan, and worsened a humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa.


Source: Reuters

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