Open Letter to United Nations And Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan.
CC. The United Nations Security Council in New York.
CC. UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon
CC. President of the Republic of South Sudan, General Salva Kiir Mayardit
CC: Chairperson of the Sudan People Liberation Movement in Opposition Dr Riek Machar Teny
CC. Ellen Margrethe Loj Special Envoy to South Sudan and head of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in the world’s newest nation.
RE: Request to re-allocate the civilians
August 10, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — With utmost gratitude, we take this opportunity to acknowledge the commitment, hard work and sacrifices of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNIMISS) during this endangering man-made crises in South Sudan, a conflict that has displaced hundreds of thousands of civilians amid atrocious violence that range from the capitals, Juba, Bor, Malakal and Bentiu, to the most remote parts of the country and the world.
To remind you, the situation embattled by the displaced persons across the country, as we have witnessed, is worsening from time to time in many parts of the Country, precisely in Unity State, where many people have got no alternatives than to stay in the flooded and contaminated camps.
It is sad enough to admit that some IDPs climb and stay on top of trees as the only alternative to sleeping in the dirty water, despite the abundant landmass in the country they claim to own. Too sad for humans. Other die helplessly, every day, within the UNIMISS Camps in Bentiu, Bor, Malakal and Juba due to floods, diseases and starvation. Worst, to say the least, their government spends billions of dollars on big guns to fight the wars. It is in this context, that we address the dire need of humanitarian assistance and other foreign aid during the current civil war.
The main purpose of this open letter is to recommend the fundamental issues that need your immediate attention and prompt response without further delay. This is because the world has bestowed all hopes on your humanitarian aid to save lives of these most disadvantaged groups in the country.
Following the Juba massacres, pioneered by the government, in which thousands of Nuer ethnic group were killed, and followed by defections of army generals whose families were victimized because of their ethnicity in their own country; as reported by Human Right Watch, thousands of innocent civilians have been killed, raped and tortured within the main urban centers and as well as in places they attempted to hide in the bush or in the swampy areas.
The violence has limited hopes of the vulnerable societies to UNMISS and focus on humanitarian assistance. However, as death toll and suffering increase within the UN protection camps, new measures have to be seek to avert the dire situations and save lives of innocent children in the country.
Mr. Toby and your leadership, as we see civilians suffering in flooded camps in Unity State without proper hygiene, we are more concern to ask your kindness as the very person dealing with Humanitarians work in the country.
From the recent reports, the new mandates of the United Nations, modified to suit the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan are as follow:
(a) Protection of civilians
- To protect civilians under threat of physical violence, irrespective of the source of such violence, within its capacity and areas of deployment, with specific protection for women and children, including through the continued use of the Mission’s child protection and women’s protection advisers.
- To deter violence against civilians, including foreign nationals, especially through proactive deployment, active patrolling with particular attention to displaced civilians, including those in protection sites and refugee camps, humanitarian personnel and human rights defenders, and identification of threats and attacks against the civilian population, including through regular interaction with the civilian population and closely with humanitarian, human rights and development organizations, in areas at high risk of conflict including, as appropriate, schools, places of worship, hospitals and the oil installations, in particular when the Government of the Republic of South Sudan is unable or failing to provide such security.
- To implement a Mission-wide early warning strategy, including a coordinated approach to information gathering, monitoring, verification, early warning and dissemination, and response mechanisms, including response mechanisms to prepare for further potential attacks on United Nations personnel and facilities;
- To maintain public safety and security within and of UNMISS protection of civilians sites;
- To exercise good offices, confidence-building and facilitation in support of the Mission’s protection strategy, especially in regard to women and children, including to facilitate inter-communal reconciliation in areas of high risk of conflict as an essential part of long-term State-building activity;
- To foster a secure environment for the eventual safe and voluntary return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees, including, where compatible and in strict compliance with the United Nations Human Rights Due Diligence Policy (HRDPP), through monitoring of ensuring the maintenance of international human rights standards by, and specific operational coordination with the police services in relevant and protection-focused tasks, in order to strengthen protection of civilians;
(b) Monitoring and investigating human rights
- To monitor, investigate, verify and report publicly and regularly on abuses and violations of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law, including those that may amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity;
- To monitor, investigate, verify and report specifically and publicly on violations and abuses committed against children and women, including all forms of sexual and gender-based violence in armed conflict by accelerating the implementation of monitoring, analysis and reporting arrangements on conflict-related sexual violence and by strengthening the monitoring and reporting mechanism for grave violations against children;
- To coordinate with, and offer technical support to, where appropriate, the African Union’s Commission of Inquiry for South Sudan;
(c) Creating the conditions for delivery of humanitarian assistance
- To contribute to the creation of the conditions for the delivery of humanitarian assistance, including by helping to establish the necessary security conditions and by exercising its good offices, confidence-building and facilitation, so as to allow, in accordance with relevant provisions of international law and United Nations guiding principles of humanitarian assistance, the full, safe and unhindered access of relief personnel to all those in need in South Sudan and timely delivery of humanitarian assistance, in particular to internally displaced persons and refugees;
- To ensure the security and freedom of movement of United Nations and associated personnel where appropriate, and to ensure the security of installations and equipment necessary for implementation of mandated tasks.
Therefore, if these are the new mandates of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNIMSS), then we are sadden to mention that your office hasn’t done enough to implement them.
We would like to remind you that the dire situation in Unity State is incomparable to any other crises in the world, not even Gaza or Syria. More than 200 children, which your office is well aware of, have died within few weeks here in Bentiu, Unity state. Aren’t these lives precious enough like other lives that your office work day and night to rescue in other parts of the world?
We are recommending the following measures to your esteem office for further considerations.
- Reallocation: with support from your partners and international community, we recommend that the civilians be reallocated from the swampy areas, where they are currently stranded to other parts of the state or the country. For instance, the UNMISS camps in Bentiu can be reallocated to better foundations in central part of Unity state that have not been invaded by floods.
- Security: To ensure the safety of the IDPs, we recommend that the International community put efforts into raising fund to reallocate these vulnerable populations to any neighboring country that would be safer than South Sudan. The current efforts are good but not promising enough. What would it mean to feed the IDPs today but risk being killed any time by curable diseases or by either of the warring factions? Please move them to any other country, where they can access education, health and other services that are offered in those areas.
Considering the slow phase of mediation and the rate of violence, 8 months into the conflict, it suffice that the United Nation take strict responsibilities on civilians, even if it means sidelining the warring factions. The government is as vulnerable as the IDPs, and hence shouldn’t be expected to provide or protect civilians in any part of the country. Those who currently have better living standards in Akobo or Gokrial do not necessarily earn their living and protections from the government but from the local youth who have committed to protect the civilians and their property by fighting for them. This is being witnessed in Mabaan today and would continue in other parts of the country if the UN and the International community do not intervene to enforce the new mandates of UNMISS in the country.
We urge your esteem offices through UNMISS to reallocate and protect civilians whenever necessary. With Bentiu and Bor at heart, reallocation of UNMISS camps from the state capitals to interior is highly recommended. Camps in Jonglei state’s capital should be reallocated to Akobo, Waat, Uror, or any other safer haven in the state. This should also apply to camps in Malakal, Bentiu, Juba, Wau and other capitals in the country.
We believe these recommendations are necessary because the capital cities are associated with political powers and would remain the focal point during the conflict. As witnessed in Bentiu and Juba, these bases are neither spared by natural disasters such as flood nor by the politicians. It is also obvious that the capitals convene all tribes and fuel hate crimes and other human right violations. Therefore, reallocation would ease all these political tensions, increase agricultural productivity in the rural areas, help avert famine and nevertheless expedite healing and reconciliation process.
Last but never the least, we recommend that the United Nation strengthen its military wings in the country to ensure adequate protection of civilians, monitoring and verification of peace mechanisms. And, nonetheless, since these implementations are resource intensive, we recommend that the United Nation and Security council hastily impose arms embargo on the warring parties and campaigns to divert oil revenues from the government accounts that fuel conflict into private accounts that are accessible to UNMISS and other humanitarian agencies to ensure better protection of civilians in the country.
With these, it is our gratitude to sincerely, once again, acknowledge and encourage the momentum that the International Community and United Nations have gathered and committed to, to promote and restore peace through the IGAD initiatives in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Your acknowledgement and cooperation would be highly appreciated.
For inquiry and comments, the authors of these article, are reachable as follow.
1. Peter Gai Manyuon,
Chief Editor | Nyamilepedia;
An Independent Journalist and Columnist who has written extensively on the issues of Democratization and Human Rights in South Sudan.
2. Deng Elijah
Executive Moderator | Nyamilepedia
Email: dengsimon2000 at yahoo dot com.