Tag Archives: children

Sudan Sabotages Polio Campaign For Children Of South Sudan

polio_sudan

By Joe Odaby

Juba, South Sudan — October 15, 2013 (SSN) – The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has called on the Sudanese government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) to urgently reach an agreement over technical details paving the way for the implementation of a polio vaccination campaign in the two areas in November.

An African Union-backed mediation team also failed to break the deadlock between the two parties, with Sudan saying it only wants to negotiate a solution for the conflict in the two areas, while the SPLM-N demands a comprehensive process.

In a press statement released on Friday, the UNSC said it is alarmed by the imminent threat of a polio in South Kordofan, following an outbreak across the in the Horn of Africa region.

Sudan has been declared polio free, but there have been recent reports of a looming polio outbreak after the detection of several cases in Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan.

UN health experts believe that failure to immunise children under five years of age in conflict-affected areas in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states will exacerbate the risk of polio spreading throughout the region.

In the statement, the UNSC called on the two parties “to urgently resolve differences over the technical plans necessary, including for safe passage, to implement the polio vaccination campaign as proposed by UN OCHA, UNICEF and WHO as soon as possible in order for the two-week vaccination campaign to go forward in South Kordofan and Blue Nile on 5 November as planned”.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates that more than 165,000 children in South Kordofan and Blue Nile remain at risk of polio due to a lack of immunisation in the border areas over the past two years.

Last week, Sudan and members of the tripartite initiative, including the African Union, Arab League and United Nations agreed to carry out the vaccination campaign on 5 November.

Khartoum has also said the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) would be ready to observe a cessation of hostilities for the period of the campaign.

The SPLM-N rebels informed the UN there remains a need to discuss arrangements of the cessation of hostilities with the SAF, which has so far refused to participate in direct talks.

The SPLM-N, which abandoned its demand to bring the vaccine directly from Ethiopia or Kenya, has rejected the involvement of the government’s Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) in the operation, instead suggesting the participation of forces from the UN mission in Abyei (UNISFA) and its own humanitarian organisation.

Negotiations between the Sudanese government and the SPLM-N since last April have so far failed to seal an agreement over the polio vaccination campaign.

The situation is further complicated by the failure of the two parties to strike a deal allowing humanitarian access to rebel-held areas. Khartoum insists that it remain in control of the distribution of humanitarian assistance, accusing the rebel group of seeking to benefit from aid to feed its fighters.

An African Union-backed mediation team also failed to break the deadlock between the two parties, with Khartoum saying it only wants to negotiate a solution for the conflict in the Two Areas, while the SPLM-N demands a comprehensive process.

 

South Sudan Organizes Investment Conference in December

By Joe Odaby

Juba — October 4, 2013 …The Government of South Sudan in collaboration with development partners is organizing a two-day investment conference scheduled for December 4-5 this year.

The conference seeks to promote South Sudan as a viable investment and business destination in the region by bring together senior government officials, key agencies and industry leaders to aid essential development and investment initiatives, The Deputy Minister for Finance Mary Jervas Yak said on Thursday while briefing the press in Juba.
To be officially opened by the President of the Republic, HE Salva Kiir Mayardit, the conference is expected to address regional and international potential investors, local investors, representatives of multinational corporations, Bankers, representatives of non governmental organization, donor organizations government officials among others.
This investment conference in South Sudan will provide a platform for investors to explore business or investment opportunities particularly on the five high impact sectors namely Agriculture, Infrastructure, Tourism and Hospitality, Petroleum and Mining” Hon. Yak said.
There is already a steering committee composed of government officials, private sector and development partners chaired by the Ministry of Finance, Commerce, Investment and Economic Planning as well as a committee of the same membership chaired by the South Sudan Investment Authority to spearhead the preparations.
The abundant natural resources, current business opportunities, the conducive investment climate in the country, Business climate transformation, stories of successful investments and South Sudan’s participation in the regional economic integration and growth will be the main messages to convey in the December conference.
Concurrent with the conference, the finance deputy minister said, there will an exhibition to showcase successful investment projects in the country. Both local and international investors  take part in the exhibition. There will also be vibrant social and cultural programs to help promote South Sudanese rich culture, said Hon. Yak.
This conference is part of a larger RSS and development partners initiative stemming from the April 16, 2013 Washington DC South Sudan investment Forum.

 

 

 

South Sudan Establishes Database On Homeless Children

By Christian Edwards

Juba, South Sudan — September 19, 2013 (SSN) Mrs. Awut Deng, South Sudan Minister of Gender Child, Social welfare and Humanitarian Affairs, has engaged in a countrywide audit aimed at establishing the actual number of street children and orphans for the purpose of national planning.

Minister Deng has travelled to the Eastern Equatoria state to assess the situation of the homeless children there. Her visit, she said was to collect views of various civil servants, experts, charity workers on how best the street children could be helped to lead a normal life.

“It’s our collective responsibility to ensure that all these children go to school. They are the future of this country”, the Gender Minister urged.

She called on the governments of regional states, development partners, civil society organization and religious leaders to join efforts in ensuring “streets free of street children”.

Hon. Awut who was received by the state’s deputy governor Mr.Jerome Gama Surur, visited a school of the orphans in the state’s capital Torit. The school is operated by the charity organization, Hope for Sudan. It has enrolled a total of 86 orphans. Madam Awut applauded the well wishers whose contributions made it possible to set up the center that she said has become home for many homeless children.

Awest Lomoro, a street child aged nine, appealed to the government for support, saying the government needs to take action to protect the fathers and the mothers. The South Sudan Gender Minister has in the recent past visited Warrap and Western Bahr el Ghazal states.

 

South Sudan Devastated By Floods, Requests Emergency Humanitarian Aid

sudan_floods

By John Leaman
South Sudan News

Juba — August 24, 2013  (SSN) … More than 18,000 people with over 1,000 households in South Sudan have been affected and others displaced from their homes by devastating floods that ravaged the Maiwut County in South Sudan’s Upper Nile State in recent days.

According to County authorities people are deeply suffering and lacking basic essentials. Women and children have mostly been displaced due to flooded homes.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the medical NGO, says about 90,000 people are still missing.

Over 48 people have been killed with severe damage to public buildings, including schools, clinics, offices, shops, markets and water and sanitation facilities. Roads in South Sudan have been inundated, disrupting transport.

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Many are still taking shelter at higher grounds and others remain in the open without any food or shelter and no proper medication as water born diseases increases with prevalence of increasing malaria cases where three have already lost their lives.

South Sudan’s Government is stepping in to provide emergency assistance to the flooded areas but the resources of the country are limited due to the economic Jihad waged against this new democratic state by its Islamist northern neighbor, Sudan.

South Sudan’s Government is calling on Humanitarian Organizations to step in and provide assistance immediately to avoid an escalation of malnutrition and diseases.

The floods have been the worst one in two decades and people fear more rains from across the neighboring Ethiopian highlands.

UN agencies led by OCHA and United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNIMSS) have already conducted a brief assessment mission in the area and explained that immediate assistance such as food, cover sheets and medicines and will be provided to the displaced people. 

South Sudan Common Humanitarian Fund Allocates 33 Million Dollars For Refugees

By Joe Odaby

 Juba — August 23, 2013 (SSN) … The South Sudan Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF) has allocated US$33 million for life-saving assistance until the end of the year to people displaced by violence, returnees, refugees and vulnerable host communities. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has said.

The money, according to a UNOCHA press statement will be channeled to providing clean water and sanitation, education, livelihoods support, healthcare, household items, nutrition, mine clearance and protection for the citizens of South Sudan..

“The money will help people in South Sudan who have been worst affected by violence, disease and displacement. Our goal is to make sure aid gets to those who need it most and as quickly as possible,” said Toby Lanzer, the UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan.

The CHF is a tool that provides funding for the most urgent priorities for humanitarian action, and ensures that funds are available for rapid response to emergencies. The fund is managed by the Humanitarian Coordinator, with support from an advisory board of donors and UN and NGO representatives.

To date this year, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom have all provided generously to the fund, Lanzer said. With the new allocation of $33 million, the CHF will have channeled around $90 million to NGOs and UN agencies in 2013.

Aid agencies are now reporting that some sixty thousand (60,000) returnees displaced from Abyei region by the May 2011 Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) invasion have already returned home ahead of the much anticipated referendum exercise scheduled for October this year.

An Abyei return tracking report for June and July this year showed that about 16,000 people have been verified as having returned to Abyei since June 2012. While the verification process did not capture returns in and around Agok in the south of the Abyei area, food partners monthly registration records reportedly suggest that another between 5,000 and 8,000 people have returned and settled in Agok, an areas known to many as Annet.

“Overall, partners estimate that up to 60,000 of the over 100,000 people displaced from Abyei in May 2011 have returned” the United Nation’s weekly bulletin reported. According to the verification report, there are around 3,500 people living in Abyei town.

Aid organizations are said to be responding to the needs of those who have returned to their homes, including by providing communities with seeds, tools and non-food items to “strengthen their resilience”.

Although a number of schools in Abyei town have been rehabilitated, school enrollment, education partners say is much lower than anticipated.

Since 2003, over 2.3 million Darfuris have fled their homes, including nearly 300,000 as refugees in Chad. Thousands of children born in these camps have never known another home.

And the cycle of violence continues. In the first four months of 2013, over five times as many people had been displaced than in all of 2012. In one week alone in April 2013, some 50,000 Darfuris fled into southeastern Chad following fresh ethnic conflict. The refugees reported entire villages being burned and razed with many villagers killed.

In South Kordofan and Blue Nile, indiscriminate aerial bombardments are Sudan’s devastating signature tactic. Bombs destroy residential areas, schools and markets, health clinics and farm fields.

Civilians have no warning of these attacks and flee for protection to caves in nearby mountains or to the bush. Children go without school, and villages are emptied of their people. The air strikes, combined with scorched-earth attacks and deliberate obstruction of humanitarian aid, have led to chronic hunger and conditions conducive to famine.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has stated the human rights violations by Sudan rise to the level of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Sudan’s campaigns of armed conflict and deliberate denial of humanitarian aid combined with the prevention of South Sudanese oil exports continue to devastate entire communities and regions.

 

 

New South Sudan Minister For Gender Equality Focuses on Street Children

gender_minister_south_sudanHon. Awut Deng Acuil 
Photo: Simon Matip Akol

By Juliet Abango

Juba — August 20, 2013 (SSN) … The newly appointed National Minister of Gender, Child and Social Welfare the Hon. Awut Deng Aciul has urged the staff of her ministry to embrace teamwork if they are to record any meaningful success.
“Teamwork is the only way we can be able to achieve what we want for this ministry and the people of South Sudan”, Hon Aciul said while being officially received at the ministry.

 

She said the work at the ministry is massive and called for commitment and dedication. One of the major tasks of the ministry, she said, is tackling the problem of street children in South Sudan. She said her ministry will have to work with all players and the ten state’s ministries of Social Development in order to team up efforts to address the issue.
Like many of her fellow ministers, Hon. Aciul was received at the ministry with ululations, dancing and singing. Headed by the South Sudan Undersecretary Esther Ikere Eluzai, the staff members thanked the President of the Republic of South Sudan H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit for appointing Hon Acuil as the Gender Minister.
After the meeting, Hon. Aciul visited the Physical Rehabilitation Centre (PRC), Rejaf School for the Blind and the Deaf along Nimule roads as well as the proposed ministry building along Yei road.

On July 23, South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit issued a presidential decree removing Vice-President Riek Machar Teny and dissolving the whole government of South Sudan.

Kiir dismissed all 29 ministers and deputy ministers. Kiir did not appoint a new vice-president or national ministers and deputy ministers.

The decree directed the under-secretaries of the various ministries to run South Sudan’s ministries until further notice. The decree also stipulated the new government will have only 18 national ministers and deputy ministers in order to streamline government work. A senior official at the presidency predicted that government ministers will be replaced in a “very short time, as soon as possible.”

Officially, Kiir’s Presidential decree does not explain the reason for the major shake-up.

Senior government officials, including some fired by the decree, called the undertaking a “reshuffle” that had long been expected given the mounting problems in government work. Nhial Bol, the editor of the independent Citizen TV, concurred. He believes that the president must have acted in order to end government paralysis. “Things have not been moving in the government because of this internal fighting over who is going to control the SPLM,” Nhial Bol said.

Fashoda Institute, the leading, Juba-based think-tank, asserts that “in embarking on the profound reshuffle of government, President Kiir put the national interest ahead of internal politics and the early posturing for the 2015 presidential elections”.

The Fashoda Institute states that Sudan has been sponsoring – primarily through the supply of weapons, ammunition and funds – the sustenance and escalation of insurgencies and tribal violence throughout South Sudan to the detriment of internal development. Allegations of endemic corruption throughout the entire government – which already led Kiir to undertake drastic measures such as suspending two senior ministers – considerably restricted the availability of foreign aid.

“The ability of the Kiir Government to tackle these daunting challenges has been needlessly complicated by their cynical exploitation by Vice-President Machar”, reports the Fashoda Institute.

“President Kiir will have a new and invigorated government that will be able to finally tackle the key challenges facing South Sudan: building alternate oil export venues – both short-term and long-term regional infrastructure; enhancing security and suppressing violence both internally and along the borders with Sudan and the Central African Republic; and launching overdue major social and economic development to put the country on a long-term ascent track. Juba will thus demonstrate activism – that is, initiate and launch major programs rather than be beholden to foreign aid.

The Fashoda political analysts report that “President Kiir is correct in arguing that it was impossible to initiate anything beforehand because of the endemic lack of funds and government crises.

Soon, with a new government in office and limited income from the short-term export push coming in – President Kiir’s Juba will be moving fast and resolutely to alleviate crises the moment this becomes possible”.

 

 

 

South Korea Donates $5 Million To South Sudan To Fight Child Mortality

By Joe Odaby

Juba, South Sudan — August 15, 2013 (SSN) – The Korean Foundation for International Health Care (KFIHC) has earmarked five million ($5 million USD), United States Dollars an equivalent of SSP20,000,000 for the fight against Tuberculosis (TB) and infant mortality rate in South Sudan.
The Under Secretary in the South Sudan Ministry of Health Dr. Makor Koryom, revealed this yesterday while signing a memorandum of understanding with the South Korean organization.

Dr. Koryom said the three-year project aims at reducing “the already high infant mortality rates” as well as curbing the spread of Tuberculosis in the country.
The funding project, he said will help the South Sudan government to improve the health sector, while on the order hand he said it will open a door of cooperation between the government of the people of South Korea and the Republic of South Sudan.

 

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Dr. Makor and Mr. Sire change copies of the signed MOU
[Photo: William Jufur]

Meanwhile Mr. David Sire, the Secretary General of KFIHC lauded the government, particularly the National Ministry of Health for its readiness to partner with his organization in improving the health sector in South Sudan.
He assured of his country’s commitment in working with the government of South Sudan to bring what he described as “positive changes” in the health care system in the young country.
Furthermore, he promised his organization’s commitment to continue funding more projects in the coming years.

Plan International Helps Children of South Sudan

champman_southsudan

By Matata Safi

Juba — July 29, 2013 (SSN) … The Chief Executive Director of the global child charity organization Plan International Mr. Nigal Champman has urged authorities in South Sudan and its partners to focus more intensively on the young people which he said is “crucial in reducing poverty” in the country.

Champman said child- focused interventions are the cost effective ways of improving health, reducing poverty and benefitting society. 

“Investing in children and the youth in South Sudan provides benefits to the next generation in terms of reducing child mortality rates, improved outcome at birth, reduced rates of low-birth-weight babies and reduced vertical transmission of diseases, particularly HIV/AIDS” he said. 
While children and youth represent more than 50 percent of the population in developing countries, Champman said young people are nearly 60 percent of the poor. He said this is coupled with the growing number of orphans and extremely vulnerable children resulting from the AIDS pandemic, conflict, child labour and exclusion which he makes the situation more complex.
Unemployment, low levels of education, health, low levels of nutrition and infant mortality rates he said, are the intergenerational consequences that young people across Africa face as a result of these problem.

“We all know that young people can play an important role in national development if provided with the right tools, the learning and capacity to employ those tools, and a supportive environment in which to use them” Mr. Champman said.
He however said the same energy and vitality that can lead young people to play crucial role in development, if marginalized could have “dramatic negative effects on social and economic stability.

 
Having invested United States $30 million in South Sudan since opening shop in 2006, Mr. Champman said the child charity organization has earmarked another $30 million to deepen its impact in the world’s youngest nation over the next three years.

“We are going to work closely with the government and other players to reduce number of children who are out of schools especially girls, children and their rights is centre to our development efforts” he announced in a press briefing in Juba after visiting Juba, Lanya and Yei River counties in his four-day official visit to South Sudan. The Plan International CEO’s visit was to see first-hand some of the organization’s project in South Sudan.
Plan International’s country programs in South Sudan focuses on improving community health, giving children access to education, water and sanitation, strengthening children’s capacity to participate in issues that affect them, emergency response support and peace-building initiatives.

“In terms of our humanitarian support especially in Jonglei State, between February 2012 and April 2013, Plan’s in-field of food distribution, agricultural livelihoods assistance, child protection and education- in emergencies support and as well as our water and sanitation projects reached 204,000 children and their families.

“Of these 81,000 were children and youth, mainly drawn from the displaced population, returnees and vulnerable host communities. A further 62,000 men and 60,000 women also benefitted,” he said. He reiterated his organization’s commitmment  to support in growth and development the Republic of South Sudan.

 

Al-Bashir Denies Vaccinations To 150,000 Children in Sudan

sudan_child_news
Girls wait for medical aid in Bram village in the Nuba Mountains

By SSN Staff

Juba — June 25, 2013 … Republic of Sudan headed by President Omar al-Bashir, who was indicted by the International Criminal Court for genocide and crimes against humanity, has again rejected a proposition made by the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N). The plea was for a humanitarian cessation of hostilities to carry out a vaccination campaign.

SPLM-N Secretary General Yasir Arman, who leads its negotiating team, demanded again on Sunday to hold talks with the Sudanese government on how to organise a Polio vaccination campaign targeting 150,000 children under five years old in rebel held areas in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

According to the report by the Sudan Tribune, Arman proposed a temporary humanitarian cessation of hostilities and to bring the vaccine and the material needed to carry out this operation directly from regional countries, Ethiopia and Kenya. The rebel group also requests that SPLM – humanitarian personnel should be involved instead of Sudanese staff.

He said that the families in the rebel controlled areas do not trust a vaccine brought from Khartoum which attempts to murder their children through the continued bombing.

Khartoum’s government spokesperson said they are resolved to not repeat the Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) in the rebel areas.

The operation was established in April 1989, months before Bashir coup d’état, as a result of an agreement signed by the government, UN aid agencies and SPLM rebels to reach civilians regardless of their location or political affiliation in South Sudan.

Sudan said the aid agencies instead of reaching civilians in the devastated famine areas delivered food to the SPLA fighters.

On May 27, Bashir accused South Sudan of helping the rebels in the southern parts of Sudan and explicitly threatened to stop the flow of oil from South Sudan to Red Sea ports. “We warn the government in the South that if they provide any assistance to the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) or to the rebels in Darfur, we will completely close the pipeline,” Bashir declared. “We will know if they stop the assistance, and we will know if they assist them.”

Experts of The Fashoda Institute (South Sudan’s Institute of Strategic and Regional Studies) believe that Khartoum’s new policy aims to markedly escalate tension, and even lead to wider war. The Islamist Government which came to power in Khartoum through a coup two decades ago made Sudan a hub of Jihadist terrorism serving as a link between the Sunni Al-Qaida and the Shiite Iran. Its decade-long genocidal war against Sudanese Christians and animalists resulted in the Darfur genocide and ICC indictment against Sudan’s President al-Bashir for crimes against humanity.

South Sudan’s independence gained in 2011 was perceived by the Islamist Government of Khartoum as a set-back in Jihad which has to be avenged.

Indeed, addressing the Khartoum rally on June 8, Bashir emphasized that stopping the flow of oil was only the beginning and that a military confrontation with South Sudan was soon to follow.

Waving his trademark baton and dancing on stage, Bashir addressed the now agitated and jubilant youth in the crowd and those watching the televised speech. Bashir urged the youths to join the Army and the paramilitary Popular Defense Forces.

Baroness Cox, Former Deputy Speaker of the British House of the Lords thinks that “it is only the resistance by Southern Sudan that is preventing the Islamization of the rest of Africa, down to Cape Town”.

American experts on African politics also believe that the real reason for Bashir’s sudden bellicosity has little to do with South Sudan’s alleged support for the rebellion in the southern parts of Sudan. The real reason is opposition’s credible threat to topple Bashir and his regime within 100 days because of the rapidly deteriorating socio-economic situation in the country. Earlier on June 8, Sudan’s opposition alliance, which is comprised of over 20 opposition parties, announced a plan for the peaceful overthrow of the Bashir regime. “I expect the regime will fall before the 100 days finish,” said alliance head Farouk Abu Issa.

The alliance’s plans include public forums and mass rallies aimed to mobilize the country’s destitute youth for peaceful protests until they are able to topple the Bashir government. The opposition alliance already prepared “an initiative for democratic change” that includes modalities for a transitional administration, and is “going to send this initiative to the president.” The opposition alliance intends to ask the state security services for permission to hold their first mass rally at Khartoum University. “If we don’t get it, then there is another step we can take but we will not announce it now,” Abu Issa told a press conference.

Bashir’s Khartoum cannot afford to ignore the opposition’s threats to agitate and mobilize the youth. Sudan is suffering from months of inflation exceeding 40%. Meanwhile, the overall unemployment rate is rapidly growing to well over 25%, with youth unemployment in the cities exceeding 60%. To date, there has been no outlet for the frustration and despair of Sudan’s urban youth. Nor was there any hope for a way out of their destitute. Now, Bashir fears, the opposition alliance might be offering these youth a venue for venting their frustrations and a hope for employment and betterment of life in the aftermath of a peaceful regime change.

Bashir’s Khartoum has no plan for economic change or recovery. Hence, Bashir desperately needs a foreign distraction for the masses, as well as excuse to dispatch the poor and discontent youth far away from Khartoum. The most expedient solution is for Bashir to send them to fight and die for the Jihad against South Sudan.