UN accused of ‘failing to protect civilians’ in South Sudan

Juba, December 15, 2015 (SSNA) — The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has been accused of lack of enforcement of the UN-mandated rules and failure to protect civilians in the South Sudan, particularly in the oil-rich Unity State, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), also known as Doctors Without Borders said.

MSF Holland’s deputy operations Director and Manager of MSF activities in the Unity State, Pete Buth, said UNMISS’s lack of action is “shocking” and that the world body failed to carry out its mission in a way it supposes to.

“There has been a complete and utter protection failure on Unmiss’ part in southern Unity. There has not been any protection to speak of until now while the violence has been ongoing and there have been thousands of people coming into the sites in Bentiu from southern Unity – those who manage to flee – and they have been telling their stories,” Buth said.

“It’s not like this is a secret. They [refugees] talk about the most horrendous incidents of sexual violence and I’m sure we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg,” he added.

MSF disclosed that the situation in Leer County of Unity State, the hometown of rebel leader Dr.  Riek Machar, ‘was dire’.

Buth added that “If you’re a civilian in Leer county, the odds are that you’ve lost a relative who was either killed or abducted or raped; you’ve been burned out of your village at least once; you’ve been displaced multiple times in the course of the past two years; your cattle have been looted and your few belongings have been stolen; you’ve been hiding in the swamps for months and your children are sick with malnutrition or some other preventable diseases, and you don’t know where to get your next day’s food from. Every single civilian is going through that crisis.”

“We have had systematic, ongoing attacks against the civilian population for months and months and months but no action – and that’s shocking,” he revealed.

In October, Protection Cluster, the umbrella agency for 60 South Sudanese and international aid organizations said it received reports of killings of at least 80 civilians in Unity State and that 57 of those killed were children; adding that 29 of the 57 children drowned after they tried to hide from attacks, adding that the attacks which resulted in the death of civilians were carried out between the 4th of October and October 22.

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