UN urged to help South Sudan

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The UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Matthew Rycroft has called on the Security Council for an urgent action to help the people of South Sudan.

UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Matthew Rycroft

The United Nations had few months ago confirmed that people are dying of starvation in north-central South Sudan, and it has issued a formal famine declaration for part of the country.

Security Council and region must ‘speak with one voice,’ end suffering in South Sudan

In all, nearly 5 million South Sudanese people do not have enough food, according to the U.N.’s food security arm, and that number is expected to rise to 5.5 million by the middle of summer. Of those, at least 100,000 people are at immediate risk of starving to death.

“The magnitude of these food insecure populations is unprecedented across all periods,”

Rycroft while addressing the Security Council meeting on the situation in South Sudan said, the situation in South Sudan is dire, called for steps to be taken to allow life saving assistance to get to those in need. He said, called for the immediate removal of obstacles to UNMISS and the deployment of the Regional Protection Force. We also gave our support to joint UN, African Union and IGAD efforts to bring the parties back to the Peace Agreement.

Ambassador Matthew emphasised, the lack of progress since that Presidential Statement a month ago is deafening. Fighting and violence in South Sudan has never been so widespread.

Events that unfolded in Wau earlier this month are a distressing indication of the apathy that parties to the conflict have towards achieving peace by political means.

UN reports detail clashes between the SPLA and the opposition which resulted in the SPLA seeking violent retribution against civilians in a community they believed to be in support of the opposition.

Recognising that, It’s always difficult to deliver aid in a highly insecure environment like South Sudan. He made it clear that, it’s not only the presence of conflict that impedes the ability of humanitarian workers to address the ever-worsening food situation. It’s the way in which the conflict is conducted; namely, the fact that it contravenes International Humanitarian Law.

International Humanitarian Law was breached with the murder of three World Food Programme employees in Wau. And this is by no means an isolated incident. As Gorgui noted in his briefing, the murder of these WFP employees adds to the toll of eighty humanitarians who have been killed in South Sudan since December 2013. This must stop.

Also unacceptable is the news that the Government of South Sudan has detained without charge, a WFP employee. We call on the Government of South Sudan for his immediate and unconditional release and urge other member states to join that call.

The violence in Wau is also an example of the unacceptable and chronic obstructions placed upon UNMISS by the Government of South Sudan. Despite repeated attempts UNMISS was prevented from patrolling in Wau and thus unable to protect civilians. A continued lack of Government cooperation has also prevented meaningful progress on the deployment of the Regional Protection Force.

The impact of this conflict on the world’s youngest nation is devastating. One example, is the fact that at least one in every four South Sudanese has now been forced from their homes since the outbreak of conflict in December 2013.

Amb. Rycroft described as unacceptable, the news that the Government of South Sudan has detained without charge, a WFP employee. He urged the UN to call on the Government of South Sudan for his immediate and unconditional release and urge other member states to join that call.

The violence in Wau is also an example of the unacceptable and chronic obstructions placed upon UNMISS by the Government of South Sudan. Despite repeated attempts UNMISS was prevented from patrolling in Wau and thus unable to protect civilians. A continued lack of Government cooperation has also prevented meaningful progress on the deployment of the Regional Protection Force.