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.

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: SSPDF and SPLA-IO forces clash in Upper Nile State

South Sudan's armed forces holding up their guns a sign of victory | Photo: File
South Sudan's armed forces holding up their guns a sign of victory | Photo: File
South Sudan’s armed forces holding up their guns a sign of victory | Photo: File

Dec 13, 2020 (Thessherald)–In what appears to be a flagrant violation of the Permanent Ceasefire, the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces, and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-IO (SPLA-IO) clashed this afternoon in Maban County, Upper Nile state, according to several sources on the ground.

“The SSPDF forces have carried an attack on the SPLA I-O defensive positions in Maban county, Upper Nile State,” said a highly placed source.

Another source disclosed, this evening, that the opposition forces were aware of the planned attack and repulsed the government forces.

“Our forces were fully aware of the attack and repulsed them [attacking forces] back to their barracks,” said a top military officer interviewed this evening by Thessherald.

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

Rights body condemns recent clashes between SSPDF and SPLA-IO

Forces of the SPLM/A-IO taking rest after being dislodged from Moroto Training Center |Photo: File

CPA |Press statement

Dec 2nd , 2020 (Thessherald)- The Center for Peace and Advocacy (CPA) strongly condemns the reported clashes between the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) against the forces of Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) around areas of Kerwa, Andejo, Kendiri, Mangalatore, Morota junction, and Morota unified training centre.

Sources indicated that, the clash took on the November 26th, 2020 Morota -Central Equatoria. This is a violation of the cessation of hostilities signed by the government of South Sudan and SPLA-IO on 21st December, 2017. CPA calls on CTSAMVM and JUB to investigate thoroughly and hold whoever is responsible accountable in order for South Sudan to have everlasting peace.

The Centre for Peace and Advocacy (CPA) condemns and denounces the use of military- oriented solutions and urges the conflicting parties to promote peace through negotiated solutions rather than guns. It is therefore incumbent upon the conflicting parties to uphold the highest moral standards in regards to the respect and promotion of human rights and rule of law. These clashes will only worsen the already dire situation of the civilians in South Sudan.

The Center for Peace and Advocacy (CPA) would therefore like the conflicting parties to show and exercise maximum restraint and cease hostilities. Let the focus be on fighting the global pandemic in the item of COVID-19 that has caused thousands of lives and infected millions globally.

On an equal footing, the Center for Peace and Advocacy (CPA) would like to encourage the IGAD, AU and International Community and peace monitors not take their eyes off these violations. These clashes must be investigated thoroughly and hold whoever is responsible accountable.

Tigray soldiers withdrawn from UNMISS detained upon arrival in Ethiopia

Ethiopian soldiers serving under the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) |Photo: File

November 27, 2020 (Thessherald)–Three Ethiopian peacekeepers recently withdrawn from the United Nations Mission in South Sudan are reported to have been arrested upon arrival in the capital, Addis Ababa, a security source told Thessherald on Friday.

According to an Ethiopian official, the three soldiers are being interrogated by the authorities on suspicion that they are members of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

“The three soldiers suspected of having links with the Tigrayan leaders are now under investigation after being accused of communicating with leaders of the TPLF.”

The United Nations mission said, on Thursday, that it had learned of the withdrawal of the Ethiopian soldiers without due process from the Ethiopian government, a phenomenon that raises concern that Tigrayans are being targeted on the basis of ethnicity.

“UNMISS is aware that three soldiers were repatriated by Ethiopia back to their country on Saturday. The Mission’s Human Rights Division is following up on their situation,” the mission’s spokesman, Kirk Kroeker, confirmed to Anadolu Agency on Thursday.

“As a Troop Contributing Country, Ethiopia is ultimately responsible for the conduct and movement of its troops. However, if the personnel is discriminated against because of their ethnicity or any other reason, this could involve a human rights violation under international law.”

“In this regard, UNMISS has requested access to any soldier who might be in need of protection under international law,” the mission said.

Since earlier this month, the federal government and Tigrayans have been involved in an armed conflict that has so far forced thousands of people to flee to neighboring Sudan in search of safety.

UN strongly condemns attacks on aid workers in Renk, calls for investigation

October 23, 2020 (Thessherald)–The Humanitarian Coordinator ad interim for South Sudan, Mohamed Ag Ayoya, has issued a statement condemning an incident in which non-resident humanitarian workers were attacked and their assets looted in Renk, Upper Nile State.

On 12 October, the Renk Youth Association demanded that humanitarian organizations re-assigned jobs from current staff from certain backgrounds to local people.

When the demands were not met, the youth then insisted that all humanitarian activities be suspended and aid workers leave Renk immediately without their assets.

Following an increase in threats against humanitarians and attacks against office, accommodation and warehouse locations, almost 30 aid workers have relocated to the closest UN Mission in South Sudan base for their safety.

“Humanitarian workers are in Upper Nile to deliver life-saving assistance to the most vulnerable people, including women, children and older persons. Intimidating them and forcing humanitarian activities to suspend result in delays of this much-needed assistance to the most vulnerable people, and is unacceptable,” Mr. Ayoya said.

He acknowledged the constructive role played by the national authorities, who have advocated for the immediate institution of safety for humanitarian workers and resumption of their programmes.

Intl Heads of Mission express concern over heightened insecurity in Renk

October 23, 2020 (Thessherald)––The international community is deeply concerned over the ongoing attacks on civilians and humanitarian workers in Renk County, Upper Nile State.

In a joint press statement, “the Heads of Mission of the United Kingdom, the United States, Switzerland, Germany, France, Norway, the Netherlands, Canada and the European Union Delegation express deep concern regarding escalating tensions with the Renk Youth Association that has resulted in the suspension of life-saving assistance in Renk county.”

The international community called on the concerned authorities to de-escalate the tensions and allow humanitarian aid to reach the needy.

“The international community strongly condemns the actions that led to the burning down of a Medair warehouse in Renk, as reported on Thursday 22 October, which cannot be tolerated. This follows days of increased threats and intimidation against staff members.”

“The current circumstances are not conducive to the delivery of aid, which has already impacted the ability of thousands of the most vulnerable to access key services. Furthermore, this risks the large-scale economic opportunities that aid supports in Renk.”

The donor countries echoed and upheld the suspension of humanitarian services in the wake of the escalating violence against frontline workers in the area.

“As donors, we stand by the Statement of Principles and Actions (Humanitarian Donors Nov 2019) which underlines the importance of enabling humanitarians to operate safely and securely. We urge the R-TGONU to engage local community leaders and groups to work together and to continue dialogue, uphold law and order and achieve a swift and peaceful resolution.”

“As donors, we require the elimination of obstructions on humanitarian assistance, such as threats, intimidation and destructions of property and commodities. As these attacks against civilians, aid workers, facilities and supplies are ongoing, we uphold the right of our partners to suspend services and withdraw from local operations. We call on the Government at all levels to provide the conditions for access and safe delivery of aid across South Sudan.”

Since the past two days, an angry group of youths has been on the rampage, attacking non-resident aid workers in protest against employment discrimination.

AU rejects planned withdrawal of UNMISS from POC sites

(AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) undertook a field mission to South Sudan from 18 to 20 February 2020 and Met Head of the UNMISS David Shearer | Photo: AUPSC

Sept 19, 2020 (Thessherald)–The Peace and Security Council of the African Union, at its 945th meeting on September 15, 2020 on the situation in South Sudan, opposed the planned withdrawal of UNMISS forces from protection of civilians sites across the country, expressing concern that the move could be a recipe for disaster.

“The Peace and Security Council notes with concern the planned withdrawal of UNMISS forces from Protection of Civilians (POCs), which may have an adverse impact on the safety and security of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs); in this respect, encourages the UN Country Team and international humanitarian agencies to ensure that that effective mitigating measures are put into place and calls on the R-TGoNU and the UN to create conducive conditions for returnees,” said the AU in its statement.

AU

However, the continental body commends the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) for its protection to the civilian population in the country.

“[AU] welcomes the efforts deployed by the UNMISS in implementing its protection of civilian mandate; notes with concern the allegations of restrictions of access imposed on UNMISS and calls all parties to facilitate the work of UNMISS; strongly condemns reported deliberate targeting of humanitarian actors and calls on the Government of South Sudan, working closely with the CTSAMVM and the UNMISS, to investigate the reported killings and ensure that perpetrators of these heinous crimes are brought to justice.”

Last week, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, David Shearer, said preparations were underway to withdraw UN forces from protection of civilians sites, raising concerns about the safety of the civilian population.

South Sudan’s government and opposition groups are under increasing pressure from the international community to implement other pending provisions of the peace agreement before the IDPs are relocated to their homes.

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