Open Letter to the United Nations

To:  Toby Lanzer, UN Humanitarians Coordinator

CC. Ellen Margrethe Loj Special Envoy to South Sudan and head of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in the world’s newest nation.
CC. The United Nations Security Council in New York, USA
CC. UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon
CC. President of the Republic of South Sudan, General Salva Kiir Mayardit
CC: Chairperson of the Sudan People Liberation Movement in Opposition Dr Riek Machar Teny

Dear Sir,

Re: Request for re-location of the Civilians in Unity State and Bor

I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledged the commitment and the hard work of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNIMISS) in this current crisis that have displaced thousands of civilians and others got killed in Bor on the 17th of April 2014, Juba on 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th of December 2013, as well Malakal and Unity State since the fight erupted within the Republican Guards in South Sudan.

To bring in to your attention about the situation of all the displaced persons, which I have seen have been worse and worse from time to time in some parts of the Country especially in the Unity State where most of people have nowhere to go at the movement, some of them stay on the top of trees, other dies every day in the UNIMISS Camp in Bentiu due to floods.

Sir, the reason of this open letter is to recommends some of the importance issues that need your immediate response as the person dealing with humanitarian work in the world newest nation.

Since December 15th, 16th, 17th, and 18th 2013 where the massacred took place in Juba the Capital City of South Sudan where thousands of Nuer tribes were killed and there after lead to some defections in the Army units across the Republic of South Sudan in December 2013. Most of the civilians were killed in bushes while trying to escape the massacred.

Mr. Toby, after I see civilians suffering in Unity State due to floods and no good hygiene as well, I got more concern to ask your kindness as the very person dealing with Humanitarians work in South Sudan as a whole.

According to what I have read about the United Nations mandate as per the current crisis is concern in South Sudan, I have noticed the followings as the current mandate if am not mistaken;

(a) Protection of civilians

  • To protect civilians under threat of physical violence, irrespective of the source of such violence, within its capacity and areas of deployment, with specific protection for women and children, including through the continued use of the Mission’s child protection and women’s protection advisers.
  • To deter violence against civilians, including foreign nationals, especially through proactive deployment, active patrolling with particular attention to displaced civilians, including those in protection sites and refugee camps, humanitarian personnel and human rights defenders, and identification of threats and attacks against the civilian population, including through regular interaction with the civilian population and closely with humanitarian, human rights and development organizations, in areas at high risk of conflict including, as appropriate, schools, places of worship, hospitals and the oil installations, in particular when the Government of the Republic of South Sudan is unable or failing to provide such security.
  • To implement a Mission-wide early warning strategy, including a coordinated approach to information gathering, monitoring, verification, early warning and dissemination, and response mechanisms, including response mechanisms to prepare for further potential attacks on United Nations personnel and facilities;
  • To maintain public safety and security within and of UNMISS protection of civilians sites;
  • To exercise good offices, confidence-building and facilitation in support of the Mission’s protection strategy, especially in regard to women and children, including to facilitate inter-communal reconciliation in areas of high risk of conflict as an essential part of long-term State-building activity;
  • To foster a secure environment for the eventual safe and voluntary return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees, including, where compatible and in strict compliance with the United Nations Human Rights Due Diligence Policy (HRDPP), through monitoring of ensuring the maintenance of international human rights standards by, and specific operational coordination with the police services in relevant and protection-focused tasks, in order to strengthen protection of civilians;

(b) Monitoring and investigating human rights

  • To monitor, investigate, verify and report publicly and regularly on abuses and violations of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law, including those that may amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity;
  • To monitor, investigate, verify and report specifically and publicly on violations and abuses committed against children and women, including all forms of sexual and gender-based violence in armed conflict by accelerating the implementation of monitoring, analysis and reporting arrangements on conflict-related sexual violence and by strengthening the monitoring and reporting mechanism for grave violations against children;
  • To coordinate with, and offer technical support to, where appropriate, the African Union’s Commission of Inquiry for South Sudan;

(c) Creating the conditions for delivery of humanitarian assistance

  • To contribute to the creation of the conditions for the delivery of humanitarian assistance, including by helping to establish the necessary security conditions and by exercising its good offices, confidence-building and facilitation, so as to allow, in accordance with relevant provisions of international law and United Nations guiding principles of humanitarian assistance, the full, safe and unhindered access of relief personnel to all those in need in South Sudan and timely delivery of humanitarian assistance, in particular to internally displaced persons and refugees;
  • To ensure the security and freedom of movement of United Nations and associated personnel where appropriate, and to ensure the security of installations and equipment necessary for implementation of mandated tasks.

Therefore, if all those are the mandates of United Nations Mission in South Sudan, what are you waiting for? Have you not identify the safe places to re-locate the civilians that have stranded in Unity state and Bor. The situation of the civilians in Unity State is the worse one compare to the others issue globally.

Sir, I have the followings recommendations that need your quick attention.

  • First of all, I need you to call for help from the world to relocate the civilians from Unity State headquarters to the Central part of the state, where there is no flood and people are living in healthy environment, if at all there are limited funds from the International Community and if there is funds for it, then issue a decree to re-locate the vulnerable people.
  • Secondly, I want your office to come out with the decree of either taking the civilians to the safest place in South Sudan because, once there is fighting between the two rivals forces, there is always cross fire/ shooting where some civilians got killed in big numbers.

Sir, when you look in to the current crisis that is still going on with no solution in both sides, it is good to take responsibility at this time to relocates the people who are in Bentiu and Bor to the safest places in South Sudan. Civilians that are in Jonglei, should be taken to either Greater Akobo like, Wuror, Waat and Akobo respectively. You remember very well that, on 17th of April 2014, civilians were killed in Bor when the UN Peace Keepers were just watching without retaliations and moreover you keep quite in your respected office as the person dealing with Humanitarians issues in South Sudan. What is wrong with your Sir?

In Unity State as well, most of the civilians were killed as well when the government forces retake Unity State Capital when an agreement was signed in Addis-Ababa by the two rival parties already.

In conclusion, I want to acknowledge and appreciates the momentum which the International Community and United Nations is putting as per the peace processes is concern in Addis-Ababa between the two rivals groups.

Your quick response toward this open letter will be appreciated.

You can as well reply me on my email,[email protected].


Peter Gai Manyuon,
Independent Journalist and Columnist who has written extensively on the issues of Democratization and Human Rights in South Sudan
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