United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Juba from Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, 6 May.
Soon after arrival, the Secretary-General, accompanied by his Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), Hilde F. Johnson, visited the Tomping Protection of Civilians Site, which is currently home to some 21,000 South Sudanese civilians. He met with the community leaders representing the thousands of civilians who had sought shelter in the United Nations compound to hear of their concerns first hand. He pledged to them the United Nations’ support. He also met with United Nations officials and non-governmental organization representatives who are directly involved in the camp’s operations.
Speaking to reporters after his meeting with the President, the Secretary-General said he was in Juba with a heavy heart, as he remembered the hope he had witnessed three years ago when South Sudan became a country. He commended President Kiir for expressing his intention to meet shortly in Addis Ababa with Mr. Machar. He told journalists that he was urging the leaders and military commanders to fully protect the civilian population. “Those who [commit] crimes against […] international humanitarian law and human rights laws, they will have to be brought to justice,” he added.
The Secretary-General added that the President had assured him that the United Nations — including the leadership of UNMISS — have his full support.
The Secretary-General also said that he was proud of the courage shown by UNMISS. By opening its gates around the country, he said, the Mission has saved tens of thousands of lives.
After a working lunch with leadership of UNMISS, the Secretary-General met with representatives of civil society, including youth, religious and women’s groups. He listened to their concerns and pledged the United Nations continuing efforts to restore peace to South Sudan. He also held a town hall meeting with United Nations staff based in Juba.
Before leaving the country, the Secretary-General held a press conference, after which he placed a call to former Vice-President Machar. As soon as the call was completed, the Secretary-General returned to the briefing room to tell the press that Mr. Machar had informed him that he, too, would travel to Addis Ababa for meetings with President Kiir on 9 May.
The Secretary-General flew late that afternoon from Juba to Rome, Italy.