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JUBA - 20 Oct 2020

Western donors decry attacks on aid workers

The western donor community in South Sudan, have in a statement extended to Radio Tamazuj, expressed their concern regarding the escalating attacks on national and international humanitarian aid workers in their line of duty.

“The European Union Delegation, all Heads of Mission of France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland express deep concern regarding recurrent reports of high numbers of incidents in South Sudan where national and international humanitarian aid workers are hindered, threatened, injured, and in some cases killed,” the statement read in part.

“In 2020 alone up to 14 humanitarian workers have lost their lives and this continues to make South Sudan one of the most dangerous places to work as a humanitarian. We strongly condemn the October 5 attack on an identified WFP humanitarian aid convoy carrying much-needed food assistance for South Sudanese people affected by severe food insecurity and flooding.” The statement added.

The statement said that the incidents are not only a violation of the Cessation of Hostilities agreement but also contravene the UN Security Council Resolution 2417(2018) on Conflict and Hunger and must be acted upon. Attacks on civilians, aid workers, facilities, and supplies are in breach of International Humanitarian Law.  

The October 9 Nobel Peace Prize statement announcing WFP as the recipient highlights South Sudan as a country of major concern, noting that “In countries such as South Sudan, the combination of violent conflict and the (COVID-19) pandemic has led to a dramatic rise in the number of people living on the brink of starvation…..The link between hunger and armed conflict is a vicious circle. We will never achieve the goal of zero hunger unless we also put an end to war and armed conflict.” 

The heads of Mission urged the R-TGoNU and all parties to provide a safe environment for humanitarian workers and tackle the violence and access impediments recurring in the country.

They also called on the parties to investigate all reported incidents and hold the perpetrators accountable, uphold their commitment to implementing the R-ARCSS, and allow unhindered humanitarian response to those in need.

“We have the highest respect for all humanitarian workers who put themselves at risk to assist millions of people with food, water, health care, shelter, and protection. We would like to take this opportunity to re-emphasize the Statement of Principles and Actions (Humanitarian Donors Nov 2019) and our collaboration and our support to stand with and serve the people of South Sudan.” The statement concluded.