Tag Archives: humanitarian aid

South Sudan: UN Silent On Rebels’ Atrocities

southern sudan civilians killedThe body of a man killed in a massacre of civilians by rebels lies on the ground
in the village of Kaldak, in Jonglei state in southern Sudan.

By Joe Odaby
South Sudan News

Juba — February 17, 2014 … The respected Sudan Tribune newspaper asks in its lead article why the international community is silent about carnage and destruction caused by the rebels lead by Riek Machar in Bentiu, Bor, Malakal, Bailiet, Akobo, Jalle, and Kolnyang.

“Why is the UN and the international community maintaining silence over these unwarranted and disheartening atrocities?” asks the newspaper.

The analytical article suggests three steps to end the crisis.

First, government and people of South Sudan must ensure that “Riek Machar’s conspiracy to destroy the country is nipped in the bud so that people’s aspirations are realized sooner than later”.

To do this, the government should institute coordinated and parallel strategies to address challenges caused by the rebels in South Sudan and their allies; namely, intensification of military offensive and formulation of a robust strategy on future negotiated political settlement. The former should be applied if the rebels continue to violate agreement on “Cessation of Hostilities,” signed on January 23rd, 2014 between the Government of South Sudan and rebels in Addis Ababa. The latter, however, should be a continuous process with support from South Sudanese true and creditable allies worldwide.

Second, the government of South Sudan should make it categorically clear to the international community that the Republic of South Sudan is a sovereign nation and should be treated as such. This means that all laws of the land must be respected. And that any attempt to side step these laws must not be tolerated whatsoever.

A wounded South Sudanese child and a relative at a hospital in Upper Nile state

“A recent concerted campaign by foreign agents on the release of seven former political detainees was a flagrant infringement into South Sudanese legal system”, stresses the Sudan Tribune. “It has to be mentioned here that the former detainees’ released to the custody of Kenyan Government was achieved through undue pressure from supposedly allies of South Sudan, particularly the US, Ethiopia, and Kenya”.

Third, “the next looming conspiracy is relentless effort to secure the release of the remaining principal four coup plotters; namely, Pagan Amum Ukiech, Oyai Deng Ajak, Majak D’Agoot and Ezekiel Lul Gatkuoth. If South Sudanese’ false allies succeed to release them, God forbid, then it will be a third bitter victory against the government and people of South Sudan. Should these four coup plotters win their release any time soon, Riek Machar will definitely capitalize on his theory that what happened on December 15, 2013, was not a coup but was “only a political crisis within SPLM Party.” And the majority of uninformed South Sudanese will believe his story since no one has been held accountable of coup attempt”.

“Riek Machar and foreign agents’ misinterpretation of facts surrounding the failed coup on December 15, 2013 is worrisome if not taken seriously by Government and people of South Sudan”, warns the newspaper.

“Otherwise, the government and people of the South will always fall victims in the hands of rebels and foreign allies, a move likely to threaten national security and sovereignty in mid- and long-term”.

South Sudan President Kiir’s Christmas Message – End Tribal Violence

Salva_Kiir_church_edited
South Sudan President Kiir’s Christmas Message – End Tribal Violence

By Christine Walters
South Sudan News

Juba, South Sudan — December 26 … South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit issued a Christmas call for the immediate restoration of peace on an official Twitter social media account of South Sudan’s government: “Innocent people have been wantonly killed. People are targeting others because of their tribal affiliation. This is unacceptable,” announced the President. “These atrocities recurring have to cease immediately.”

VIDEO: Christmas And New Year Message From South Sudan President Kiir

President Kiir, a devout Catholic, has attended the Christmas mass in Juba, the capital of  war-torn South Sudan staying at the service shoulder to shoulder with hundreds of refugees seeking protection in the church.

The compound of the Catholic cathedral of Juba has been transformed into a refugee camp in the past week. Close to 7,000 people have found shelter there from tribal violence, which began with an attempted coup by Riek Machar, former Vice President, on 15 December and has since spread to half of South Sudan forcing up to 80,000 civilians to flee their homes.

“The current crisis in South Sudan cannot be comprehended in isolation from the country’s tormented past and challenging current posture. South Sudan has been trying hard to build a nation and a state after the debilitating war of independence, autonomy period, and the post-independence austerity period (caused by Sudan’s blocking of oil exports until very recently). It is a mighty challenge given the diversity of the population and the gravity of the situation”, wrote in its analytical report an influential African think-tank The Fashoda Institute.

“President Kiir was doing as great a job as can be expected under such horrific conditions. For several months now, Machar has tried to further the self-interests of his Nuer tribe by undermining the nation-building effort of the Kiir administration, and by reawakening the sectarian-tribal tensions”, opined the analysis.

“When Machar was rejected by the South Sudan government and Party establishments – he launched the revolt that is now tearing the nation apart along tribal-national lines. Reik Machar must not be rewarded for awakening and capitalizing on sectarian-tribal hostilities and enmities (as he did in the 1990s and caused several Nuer massacres of Dinka). The South Sudan government should be helped to restore stability and unity in the country, and then should be helped to improve both good governance and the economy”, concludes The Fashoda Institute.

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 Plans Major Diplomatic Reforms Planned by FM Benjamin

By Joe Odaby

Juba, South Sudan — October 14, 2013 (SSN) … South Sudan’s Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin has announced that a major diplomatic reform is underway in the South Sudan Foreign Ministry.

fm benjamin

South Sudan Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, (Getty)


The move comes after national legislative assembly lawmakers from the south-governing Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) expressed concerns over the manner in which its embassies handle the country’s foreign affairs matters.

“There remains a lot of work to be done and it is imperative that the ministry devise policies reflective of the law and priorities of the government”, said Assembly Speaker Magok Rundial.

The South Sudan Foreign Affairs ministry, he said, should embark on sustained efforts aimed at creating awareness globally on the country’s independence status.

“There are countries which still do not know that South Sudan is an independent state. Such a challenge requires skilled and effective diplomats,” stressed Rundial.

The young nation, in 2011, enacted the Diplomatic and Consular Service Act; a law intended to simplify decision making processes and give it more access to international affairs.

The law, which became operational in January last year, allows the country to establish embassies in key countries and permanent missions at the regional and international organisations, including having temporary consular missions.

It also provides for the establishment of missions, to be run by ambassadors, minister plenipotentiaries, counselors and categorised sizable secretaries.

To the credit of the South Sudan’s President, Salva Kiir Mayrdit, and its Foreign Minister, Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, this young democracy currently has 22 embassies in various countries, including efficiently-working embassies in Washington, D.C. and in London.

South Sudan’s Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. Benjamin stresses that in spite of the shortage of trained diplomats, his Ministry is determined to strengthen the international standing of their country.

Last month Dr. Benjamin  formed a technical committee to study how it could improve relations with other countries by deploying competent workforce in line with the policy of lean, but effective cadres.

According to the recent committee’s recommendations, the number of diplomats deployed at the 22 embassies needed to be reduced to reflect the government policy of lean, but effective diplomatic cadres.

The committee, the foreign affairs spokesperson said, is also conducting background checks of individual diplomats, examining specifically their areas of specialty, experiences, capabilities and level of understanding of diplomatic and international affairs,

As in many democracies, including the United States, the ambassadors are often chosen not amongst the carrier diplomats but amongst prominent figures who are rewarded by the ambassadorial post for their service to the country in other, often not related to foreign affairs, fields. South Sudan’s Foreign Ministry also has a number senior diplomats who were appointed not on the basis of their merits, but as a reward for having played active role in the independence war, but had no prior training in diplomacy and foreign relations.

“They certainly did good work by helping bring to the spotlight what our people were undergoing, but not all activists are good diplomats”, the foreign affairs spokesperson said.

Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin is determined to limit this practice and vigorously professionalize the diplomatic cadres of South Sudan.

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 President Kiir Takes Emergency Measures As Floods Continue

Juba, South Sudan — September 17, 2013 (SSN) Most parts of South Sudan are overwhelmed by flood waters as a result of  the heavy rains the country has suffered in the last few weeks. The most hard-hit states are Northern Bahr el Ghazal with a total of 5, 882 households affected, Warrap with 10,000, Unity 8,355 and Upper Nile with 8,000 households affected. Lakes states and parts of Central Equatoria are reportedly also affected.

The President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, said his government is taking immediate measures to respond to the needs of the affected population and is setting aside 7 million South Sudanese pounds to rescue the situation.

 

south_sudan_president_kiir_briefing
H.E. President Kiir during the briefing.

“Your government is deeply concerned with the suffering imparted upon you by this natural disaster and has taken immediate action towards finding temporary mitigation measures while also looking for long term solutions once we overcome the emergency situation”, the President said on Thursday in his address to the nation.

President Kiir said that “food, security, shelter water purification tablets, medical services, information on floods and evacuation” are the immediate needs of the affected people in South Sudan.

President Kiir has assembled a nine-member taskforce to map, assess and propose immediate intervention plans for helping the affected 37, 238 households.

South Sudan President Kiir said the floods have swept away farms and homes depriving most of the people of the affected areas of their livelihoods. Health facilities, livestock grazing areas and other public utilities have also been rendered useless. The South Sudan President warned that flood-associated factors such as outbreaks of diseases, hunger and general collapse of peoples’ coping mechanisms remain eminent.

 

south_sudan_flooded_homes_and_crops
Homes and farming land have been flooded in most parts of the country.

Besides thanking the UN and other partners for responding to the emergency, South Sudan President Kiir also called on the business communities – both in South Sudan and abroad – to help the affected regions of South Sudan with whatever they can during these difficult times.

South Sudan: Environmental, Social Management Framework Released

By Joe Odaby
South Sudan News

 Juba, South Sudan — August 28, 2013 (SSN) … The World Bank and bilateral donors are supporting efforts by the Government of the Republic of South Sudan to deliver services to the population through supporting the development of the Local Government Service Delivery Project (LGSD).

LGSD aims at supporting improvements in local governance and deliver services to communities through strengthening of community engagement and local government capacities in planning, implementation and oversight of local development activities.

The final Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF) document  for South Sudan is available on-line and can be read here.

This is part of the efforts of the newly appointed South Sudanese Government to advance broad reforms in all spheres of national life. 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. 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.”

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”.

South Sudan is facing numerous emergencies and challenges as a result of the attempt at economic stifling by Sudan. The economic development of South Sudan has been arrested by the Sudanese blocking of oil exports – thus depriving South Sudan of its primary source of revenues.

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 write 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 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.

south_sudan_flooded_homes_and_crops

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. 

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”.