The Secretary-General is alarmed by the rising number of fatalities resulting from the continuing fighting in South Sudan, including reports received on 14 January about the deaths of 200 civilians who drowned in the River Nile while fleeing hostilities in Malakal, Upper Nile State. He is also deeply concerned about the rising number of displaced people in the country, which surpassed 400,000 this week, and the challenges humanitarians are facing in providing life-saving assistance. He strongly condemns the commandeering of humanitarian vehicles and the theft of food stocks and other relief items by both Government and anti-Government forces.
The Secretary-General calls on all parties to cease hostilities and urges them to engage constructively with the IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development)-led negotiation process, while doing their utmost to prevent civilian casualties, uphold principles of International Humanitarian Law and respect human rights. He reiterates that those responsible for attacks against civilians, humanitarian workers and UN personnel will be held accountable, and that the United Nations will continue to actively protect civilians applying strict impartiality.