South Sudan: mission calls for respect of UN working, security agreements

UN staff assist two refugees from Darfur who travelled to Bentiu, South Sudan and were then trapped by fighting there. Photo: UNHCR/K. McKinsey

12 March 2014 – The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) reports increasing difficulties in implementing its mandate due to growing restrictions of movement, and calls on all parties to respect the work done by UN staff and the inviolability of the Organization’s assets and premises.

Such restrictions of movement are in violation of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), which establishes the rights and privileges of foreign personnel in a host country in support of a larger security arrangement, under which the Mission operates.

Meanwhile, UN workers are facing challenges related to inclement weather and the approach of the rainy season. Last week, rainstorms damaged the tents at the Tomping compound in the capital, Juba, which, according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) “has exacerbated the already difficult living conditions” of some 8,000 refugees. Aid agencies are currently implementing measures to improve drainage and shelters in the site, and will assist people to move to plots in the UN House base later this week.

UNMISS also hopes to improve living conditions in the different bases, which are highly overcrowded, by extending current sites and building new ones.

The Mission reports that it is paying close attention to the trial and fate of the four detainees accused of plotting to overthrow the Government in December, and who appeared before a Special Court in Juba yesterday.

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