Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on the situation in South Sudan
New York, 19 December 2013
The Secretary-General is deeply concerned about continued reports of growing violence in many parts of South Sudan, human rights abuses and killings fuelled by ethnic tensions. He demands that Government and opposition forces respect the rights of civilians and ensure their safety and security. He reminds them of their responsibilities and accountability under international humanitarian law.
UNMISS is doing everything it can, within its means and in a very fluid situation, to protect civilians, as well as United Nations and international personnel on the ground. The Secretary-General was appalled to learn of the attack today on an UNMISS base in Akobo, where civilians had taken refuge. There are indications that civilians may have been killed and wounded in the attack, but this remains to be verified. Should these reports prove true, those responsible must be held accountable for their crimes.
The Secretary-General supports the initiative of the ministers of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to support dialogue among political opponents. He calls on the Government and political opposition to make good use of this opportunity to restore security and the democratic process in South Sudan.
Above all, the Secretary-General appeals to the principal leaders concerned to live up to their individual responsibilities to the people of South Sudan. The future of this young nation requires its current leadership to do everything possible to prevent South Sudan descending into the chaos that would be such a betrayal of the ideals behind its long struggle for independence.
Statements on 19 December 2013