South Sudan: UN calls on government to protect civilians and aid workers following attacks
The United Nations is calling on South Sudan’s government to protect civilians and aid workers in the country following a series of attacks against both groups.
UN humanitarian representative for South Sudan, Eugene Owusu, denounced “outrageous abuses” committed by both government and opposition forces last week, calling on both sides of the conflict to ensure the safety of innocent civilians and aid workers.
Attacks against civilians, aid workers
Owusu is referring to reports of attacks targeting civilians in Eastern Equatoria and aid workers in Upper Nile last week. These aren’t the first attacks of their kind in South Sudan by any means but the UN on Saturday expressed concern over a rise in attacks against civilians and aid workers in the country.
“I am appalled by the reports,” Owusu said in a statement. “I implore the leadership in South Sudan to rapidly investigate these allegations and to end all attacks against civilians.”
“I call on those in power to take swift action to end the targeting of innocent people in this conflict and to hold those responsible to account,” he added.
Humanitarian situation ‘deteriorating’
The attacks on aid workers come at a time when the need for humanitarian aid in South Sudan is at an all-time high. The UN describes the troubled country’s humanitarian situation as “deteriorating” with millions of people in need of urgent aid.
South Sudan’s government has been accused of failing to guarantee full access for aid workers to people in the country’s most desperate areas. Last month the government revoked plans to increase work visa fees for aid workers from $100 to $10,000 following a backlash from the international community, which claims the government is profiteering from its people’s suffering.
The UN says it is experiencing the world’s most desperate humanitarian crisis in its history with widespread conflict and famine pushing the international community’s aid funds to the limit.
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