May 12, 2016
H.E. President Salva Kiir
H.E. First Vice President Riek Machar
H.E. Vice President James Wani Igga
Republic of South Sudan
Juba, South Sudan
RE: Works of Mercy
May 18, 2016 (SSNA) — We congratulate and thank you for the steps you are taking to form the Transitional Government of National Unity and we urge you to operate with an attitude of honesty, sincerity of intention and inclusiveness towards each other for the success of your Administration and for the good of the country.
We recognize that the tasks before you, that of recovering from war and building a new country, are enormous challenges; however, nothing is more important, at this time, than addressing the humanitarian crisis that is threatening most of the country. With the extent of suffering and with the rainy season fast approaching, your immediate attention and quick response are necessary now.
We understand from USAID that the humanitarian crisis is not because of a lack of aid but rather it is a problem of getting aid that is available to the people in need. USAID reports the following in its April 29, 2016 Fact Sheet, “Humanitarians continue to face attacks, harassment, and violence that hinder their ability to respond to populations in need of assistance throughout South Sudan.” The report goes on to say:
“Since the start of the current conflict, at least 52 humanitarian workers have been killed in South Sudan. Aid organizations have reported nearly 1,900 humanitarian access incidents, including arrests or detention of staff, attacks on international non-governmental organization (NGO) compounds, and case of violence against humanitarian personnel and assets since January 2014, according to the UN.”
This hurts and frustrates the humanitarian efforts of non-political organizations, which have generously and unreservedly sacrificed their comfort to intervene in providing humanitarian aid to the affected populations. We strongly advocate for fair treatment and respect for humanitarian aid staff and provision of safe corridors to enable them to provide relief supplies to the suffering populations on all sides.
We would like to formally thank those countries and organizations that have served the people of South Sudan through this difficult time and who continue to support us as we navigate this transition and develop the infrastructure necessary to stand on our own. In particular, we thank the United States, which has donated over $274 million dollars or 56% of the total aid provided to South Sudan in just the first four months of 2016; and we also thank the European Commission, Canada, Germany, the U.K. and Denmark. In addition, we sincerely thank all of the outstanding organizations that have worked on the ground in such difficult circumstances and have made such a huge difference in the lives of our family and friends.
Finally, as people of a common faith, we remind you, the leaders of our great country, of the responsibility we bear to carry out works of mercy. In Jesus’ words as he taught on the Mount of Olives, when we feed the hungry, care for the sick and provide for those in need, we are in fact caring for Him.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and to consider our requests. Please take immediate steps to remove any barriers that would impede the immediate delivery of humanitarian aid to anyone in need in South Sudan. You are in our constant prayers and please know that we are ready to help in any way that we can to address the humanitarian crisis and to support the long process of building peace and prosperity in South Sudan.
Kwaje Lasu, Chairman of the Board
Coalition of Advocates for South Sudan (CASS)