South Sudan

Assistant UN Secretary –General in Malakal: Fighting and civilian suffering must stop

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26 February 2016 – The Assistant UN Secretary –General for Humanitarian affairs, Kyung-wha Kang, today headed a high-level delegation to inspect the humanitarian situation in Malakal, site of armed violence in its UNMISS Protection of Civilians (PoC) area on 17 and 18 February. She concluded that the time to stop suffering of civilians is now.

“I am outraged by what I have seen in Malakal,” declared the Assistant Secretary-General. “Civilians who had sought safety in the PoC have been attacked, killed, traumatised and displaced once more, with whole sections of the PoC completely and systematically burnt down and destroyed, including medical clinics and schools. Those responsible for these heinous acts must be held to account.”

Ms. Kang, accompanied by the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (DSRSG) for Humanitarian, Engene Owusu, concluded a two-day visit to South Sudan by a visit to Malakal in northern South Sudan. She travelled to South Sudan with the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, on 25 February, where they met Government officials and visited communities affected by the conflict.

“The loss of properties and lives to me is a heart-breaking occurrence within the Protection of Civilians area. We will continue to support those who are in need, especially in the affected areas, across South Sudan”, said Engene Owusu.

The visiting delegation held a meeting with internally displaced persons (IDPs) representatives and women, in which the representatives of the IDPs expressed the need for more protection of and within the PoC area.

“Our expectation after this horrible occurrence at the PoC site is to get more protection from the United Nations troops who are here with a mandate to protect us”, said Mathew Chuol Jock, Chairman of the PoC’s Peace and Security Committee.

The key message of the visiting Assistant Secretary-General, however, was that the fighting and subsequent suffering of civilians must come to an end.

“Despite the peace agreement, civilians in this country continue to face destitution, destruction, death and devastation, and the humanitarian needs continue to grow. This is unacceptable. The fighting must stop now. People caught in the middle must be protected and humanitarians granted immediate and unhindered access to all those who need aid and protection”, said Ms. Kang.

ASG Kang made a strong appeal to the international community to act swiftly to avert an even greater tragedy in South Sudan.

The South Sudan Humanitarian Response Plan for 2016 is currently lacking more than 90 per cent of its estimated need of $1.3 billion dollars, despite a US$21 million of Central Emergency Response Fund allocation announced by the Secretary-General in Juba on 25 February.

Some $220 million is urgently needed to procure and deliver vital supplies during the dry season, before nearly 60 per cent of the country is again unreachable by road.