UN humanitarian Coordinator warns of deteriorating situation in South Sudan

Stephen O'Brien. photo: UN/Getty Images/File
Stephen O’Brien. photo: UN/Getty Images/File

New York/Juba, December 19, 2016 (SSNA) — The United Nations says humanitarian situation in South Sudan is deteriorating, a statement obtained by the South Sudan News Agency has shown.

In speech to the UN Security Council today, Stephen O’Brien, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, told the council that humanitarian situation is worsening. He adds that those who have committed serious crimes are walking freely.

“…the humanitarian situation has deteriorated dramatically. Hundreds of thousands of people have been driven from their homes, and hunger has deepened. There are numerous accounts of horrific gender-based and sexual violence, with most perpetrators walking free,” he told the Council.

O’Brien told the Security Council that at least 6.1 million people need humanitarian assistance and that the number of people in need of humanitarian aid will to rise to between 20 to 30 per cent in 2017.

He reveals that more than 383,000 South Sudanese left their homes in July alone, with most people going to Uganda and rest went to Ethiopia, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Central African Republic.

The humanitarian chief also said armed groups are carrying out sexual violence against women and girls, using rape as a weapon of war. He states that rapes, gang rapes, and abductions were reported in Wau, Bentiu, Leer, Malakal, Yambio, and other locations in Equatoria region. O’Brien further explained that “sexual violence” were also committed against women and girls who left Protection of Civilians [PoC] sites to gather firewood and food.

O’Brien further explained that South Sudan’s government is obstructing works of humanitarian organizations and intimidating aid staff, pointing out recent arrest and deportations of NGOs workers by Juba. He also blames the SPLM/A-IO for committing some humanitarian violations.

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