Statement by Sue Lautze, Acting Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan

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Juba, 9 July 2014: “I would like to congratulate South Sudan and all its people on the third anniversary of the Independence of this new nation. Today is a day for both the celebration of South Sudan’s hard-won sovereignty and also an opportunity to reflect on what it means to be South Sudanese. While this young nation celebrates today we acknowledge with regret the many South Sudanese facing extraordinarily difficult circumstances.

As a humanitarian community, we take this opportunity to salute the people of South Sudan who are at the forefront of grassroots humanitarian action, providing assistance, friendship and compassion within and across their communities. These are the real humanitarian heroes who are helping so many to cope with the myriad risks that characterize life in South Sudan. We salute the health workers, field extension agents, Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (RRC) staff and the many others who have remained in their positions, often working without salaries and support, in order to provide care to so many in need. We urge the Government of the Republic of South Sudan to restore budgets to these core functions – including for workers still in their positions in Opposition held territory.

The humanitarian community – both South Sudanese and international partners – remains in solidarity with all South Sudanese, regardless of whichever side of the divide they find themselves today. We continue to do our utmost to provide assistance to those in need by the same principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, and independence that guided humanitarian assistance around the world, including in South Sudan, for decades.

We appeal to both the Government of South Sudan and the Opposition to ensure an enabling environment for the safe and effective delivery of humanitarian assistance. We welcome the high-level statements from both regarding the need for humanitarian assistance to be provided to all who suffer, and call on all political and military leaders to show their commitment to their people by allowing humanitarian organizations to urgently reach those in need.”

For more information, contact: Tapiwa Gomo, Head of Communication, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in South Sudan (gomo@un.org / +211 922406079)

Amanda Weyler, Public Information and Reporting Officer, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in South Sudan (weylera@un.org / +211 922473115)

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