South Sudan

Humanitarian Coordinator a.i. in South Sudan condemns the latest threat against humanitarians operating in Greater Pibor Administrative Area, 5 October 2021

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(Juba, 05 October 2021) The Humanitarian Coordinator ad interim in South Sudan, Matthew Hollingworth, strongly condemns the latest threat against humanitarian organizations in the Greater Pibor Administrative Area (GPAA) and calls for authorities and communities to ensure the safety and security of humanitarian personnel.

“I am deeply concerned with the latest threat by youth groups against humanitarians serving the South Sudanese community. We are here to deliver critical assistance to the most vulnerable people, including women, children and the elderly,” said Mr. Hollingworth.

On 04 October, a letter reportedly from a youth group in Pibor was issued, demanding at least 30 humanitarian personnel leave the area within 72 hours. The youth group accused humanitarian personnel from other parts of the country of occupying positions that they say belong to the local community.

“The consequences of these threats will impact the provision of critical services to people, such as urgent food assistance, health and nutrition services and protection support, among others. Without these frontline workers, all of whom are South Sudanese citizens, we cannot reach people with life- saving aid and people’s humanitarian needs will deepen,” continued Mr. Hollingworth.

This latest incident of youth interference will impact response operations to more than 100,000 of the most vulnerable people in the Greater Pibor Administrative Area. Since the start of the year, humanitarians have been threatened and attacked by youth in Renk in Upper Nile and Torit in Eastern Equatoria, to name but a few. These attacks led to the suspension of humanitarian activities and the relocation of workers.

“The worrying trend of threats and attacks by youth groups against humanitarians is unacceptable and must stop. I call on all parties, at all levels, to respect, protect and enable humanitarian action. This trend of targeting fellow citizens only works to delay and discourage the public and private development initiatives that we all wish to see working alongside relief efforts in the most vulnerable areas of the country.” Mr. Hollingworth concluded.

Note to editors

To read the Humanitarian Coordinator’s earlier statements on youth attacks against humanitarian workers and assets, see the OCHA press releases on: Torit and Jamgjang, April 2021: https://bit.ly/2RFZM5E and Renk, May 2021: https://bit.ly/3mozgJU

For further information, please contact:
Anthony Burke, Public Information Officer, +211 92 240 6014 and burkea@un.org Annette Hearns, Deputy Head of Office, hearns@un.org
OCHA press releases are available at www.unocha.org/south-sudan or www.reliefweb.int.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.