South Sudan’s government wants refugees to leave UN camps, cites ‘poor conditions’

New York, December 2, 2015 (SSNA) — South Sudan’s Ambassador to the United Nations (UN), Francis Mading Deng, told the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) that his government wants to work with the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to allow civilians who live in UN bases to return to their houses.

Deng argues on Wednesday that allowing people to go back to their houses would be good for the implementation of the IGAD-Plus compromise peace agreement, claiming that Juba wants South Sudanese to return to their homes because of “poor living conditions due to overcrowding” and “violent incidents” in the camps.

"As we begin the implementation of the peace agreement, both the government of South Sudan and UNMISS should jointly find a way to encourage the civilians in the protection sites to return to their homes,” Deng told the UNSC on Wednesday.

Deng complains that there are too many people living in the cams and that the bases were never meant to hold such large numbers of people. He also demanded that the UNMISS let people leave camps so that peacekeepers can broaden their works to other areas outside of South Sudan’s capital, Juba.

A high level confidential source with the government told the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA) that the real reason behind government’s request is that those who live in UNMISS camps could join the rebels soon after a transitional government is formed  because their relatives were killed in December of 2013 when fighting broke out.

“The government thinks about the number of them [people]. They believe the people in UNMISS bases are too many and favor the rebellion,” the source said.

UN dismisses Deng’s claim

On his part, Herve Ladsous, the UNMISS chief declared in front of the council that the peace deal has failed and that the fighting is ongoing. Ladsous also accuses the warring factions of trying to “consolidate positions.”

"What we are witnessing on the ground is a continuation of the fighting to consolidate positions before the beginning of the transition. No amount of troops or police can replace the political will required of the leaders of South Sudan to bring an end to their conflict," Ladsous said at the hearing.

Deng’s unusual request comes as South Sudanese government keeps delaying the visit to Juba by an advance team of the armed opposition to jumpstart the implementation of the peace deal.

In October, Deng objected to a UN’s request to use “drones” in South Sudan to monitor the war and other humanitarian situations.

At the October UNSC session, he asked UN to first consult Juba and warned of a “potential disagreement and hostility” between his government and the community of nations unless the UN accepts South Sudan’s government demand.

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