23 August 2013 Alarmed by the increased conflict and violence in South Sudan, particularly the eastern state of Jonglei, the Security Council today strongly condemned attacks on civilians and the looting of UN and other international aid organizations’ facilities, and called on the Government to expedite safe and unhindered humanitarian access to the people cut off from aid.
In a statement to the press, the Council “called on all parties, including armed militias, to exercise restraint, refrain from any acts of violence against civilians” and to “fully respect their obligations under applicable international law, including human rights law and international humanitarian law.”
An estimated 100,000 civilians in Jonglei alone have been cut off from life-saving assistance as a result of fighting between State and non-state armed actors, and the recent resurgence of inter-communal clashes, according to the UN.
The Security Council, which noted that it is the primary responsibility of the Government to protect civilians, called on Juba to expedite safe and unhindered humanitarian access for the timely and full delivery of aid to all civilians in urgent need of assistance in accordance with relevant provisions of international law, including international humanitarian law and the UN guiding principles of humanitarian assistance.
The Council also urged the Government to provide full freedom of movement and unhindered access for the UN peacekeeping mission in the country (UNMISS) to all parts of the State.
The Mission yesterday said it had intensified its patrols in recent days in Jonglei’s Pibor and Gumuruk towns, and launched sustained patrols in areas outside both areas to help create a secure environment which allows civilians to safely return and access ongoing food distribution.
Members of the Security Council condemned all attacks on UNMISS troops and staff, called for prompt and thorough investigation, and, in today’s statement, demanded that there be no recurrence of such attacks or impunity for the perpetrators.
Also in its statement, the Council reiterated its deep concern at human rights violations and abuses by armed groups and by national security institutions, including some members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), and emphasized that those responsible for any violations must be held accountable.
The members of the Council also underlined the need to address the underlying causes of inter-communal violence in South Sudan and urged all parties to seek peace through reconciliation.
President Salva Kiir as part of a wider effort in facilitating the peace, renewed an amnesty offer on 9 July toward relevant armed groups.
News Tracker: past stories on this issue