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IGAD Revitalizing South Sudan Peace Process (18.08.2017)

Drought-stricken herders in Ethiopia need urgent support (11.08.2017)

Pastoralist communities are facing huge losses of livestock.

ROME, Italy, August 11, 2017 – Supporting herders to get back on their feet and preventing further livestock losses and suffering are crucial in drought-hit Ethiopia where hunger has been on the rise this year, warned today the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Drought has devastated herders’ livelihoods as it exhausted pastures and water sources, leading to a significant number of animals dying or falling ill, particularly in the southern and southeastern regions of the country as other areas recover from previous seasons’ El Niño-induced drought.

Drought-hit pastoralists face reduced milk production, rising malnutrition, and have limited income-earning capacity and severely constrained access to food.

Some 8.5 million people – one in 12 people – are now suffering from hunger; of these, 3.3 million people live in Somali Region.

The current food and nutrition crisis is significantly aggravated by the severe blow to pastoral livelihoods. For livestock-dependent families, the animals can literally mean the difference between life and death, especially for children, pregnant and nursing women for whom milk is a crucial source of nutrition.

With up to 2 million animals lost so far, FAO is focusing on providing emergency livestock support to the most vulnerable pastoralist communities through animal vaccination and treatment, supplementary feed and water, rehabilitating water points, and supporting fodder and feed production.

“It is crucial to provide this support between now and October – when rains are due – to begin the recovery process and prevent further losses of animals. If we don’t act now, hunger and malnutrition will only get worse among pastoral communities,” said Abdoul Karim Bah, FAO Deputy Representative in Ethiopia.

By providing supplementary feed and water for livestock, while at the  same time supporting fodder production, FAO seeks to protect core breeding animals and enable drought-hit families to rebuild their livelihoods. Animal health campaigns will be reinforced to protect animals, particularly before the rains set in, when they are at their weakest and more susceptible to parasites or infectious diseases. FAO-supported destocking and cash-for-work programmes will also provide a crucial source of cash for families.

Funding appeal

FAO urgently requires US$ 20 million between August and December to come to the aid of Ethiopia’s farmers and herders.

FAO has already assisted almost 500,000 drought-hit people in 2017 through a mix of livestock feed provision, destocking and animal health interventions, thanks to the support of the Ethiopia Humanitarian Fund, Switzerland, Spain, Sweden through FAO’s Special Fund for Emergency and Rehabilitation Activities, the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund, as well as FAO’s own Early Warning Early Action fund and Technical Cooperation Programme.

UN Peacekeeping Mission Head insists on “zero tolerance approach” to militarization of South Sudan’s displaced people camps (10.08.2017)

UNMISS currently protects some 218,000 people in seven POC sites across the country where people have fled due to the ongoing conflict in South Sudan.

JUBA, South Sudan, August 10, 2017 – The Head of the UN Peacekeeping Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has insisted that the mission maintains a “zero tolerance approach” to the militarization of camps for people displaced by conflict and that the camps remain civilian in nature.

David Shearer, who is also the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, was speaking in Bentiu in the north of the country, where some 115,000 people are currently living in the Mission’s largest Protection of Civilians site or POC.

Last month, 22 armed men in civilian clothes were taken into custody by Mongolian peacekeepers, after they tried to break into the camp to seek shelter from fighting.

“The only way to keep women and children safe in this camp and others is to make sure they do not become militarized,” Mr Shearer said.

UNMISS currently protects some 218,000 people in seven POC sites across the country where people have fled due to the ongoing conflict in South Sudan.

“Undoubtedly, UNMISS has saved tens of thousands of lives by providing these sanctuaries from violence, but ultimately,” Mr Shearer added “we need to find a longer-term solution so that these people can return home and live productive lives.”

“Only those people in imminent danger and whose lives are at risk should be sheltering in these sites,” the UNMISS Head said.

UN Police Officers are working with community groups in the POC sites to ensure that military groups are unable to find refuge there.

“UNMISS is stepping up peacekeeping patrols outside many of its POC sites to build confidence for local people to return home,” said David Shearer. “That needs to go hand in hand with the efforts of humanitarian agencies to provide targeted assistance to surrounding communities to support that return.”

Southern Sudan Associated Advocates letter to the Kenyan Embassy: “Re: Targeting of South Sudanese in Kenya” (04.08.2017)

In South Sudan, UN peacekeeping chief pledges support to displaced civilians in Malakal (04.08.2017)

Continued civil conflict has plagued South Sudan, since December 2013.

WASHINGTON D.C., United States of America, August 4, 2017 – Having witnessed first-hand various security challenges and humanitarian efforts in South Sudan, the United Nations peacekeeping chief has wrapped up his three-day mission to the country, which included a visit to the UN Protection of Civilians site in Malakal, where he expressed the Organization’s resolve to support the return to stability.

“We are determined to continue doing our best to help the population,” said Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for UN Peacekeeping Operations said after visiting Malakal.

Continued civil conflict has plagued South Sudan, since December 2013. A brokered peace deal signed in August 2015 has not completely taken hold, causing hundreds of thousands to flee amidst burgeoning humanitarian challenges.

Mr. Lacroix visited the UN Protection of Civilians (PoC) site in Malakal, where 30,000 people struggle to survive. Since its formation, the internally displaced persons (IDPs) site has offered refuge to countless South Sudanese escaping conflict around their homes.

Troops on the ground briefed him on various security concerns, obstacles and humanitarian efforts underway to assist the local population.

“My visit to Malakal was quite informative on the efforts that are being made to support the population there – the IDPs – but also the population as a whole, irrespective of their affiliation,” he maintained.

Through a translator, one IDP living there since December 2013 said, “in this camp we are secure,” adding “but still we need more security and peace in this country.”

Accompanied by Special Representative of the Secretary-General David Shearer, Head of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), the UN peacekeeping chief spoke with local authorities, as well as the UNMISS team and representatives of UN agencies, both on the humanitarian and development sides.

“We had a good meeting with local authorities in Malakal and we agreed that we should continue to work together and increase our cooperation in order to help the return of stability and also generate better opportunities for the population there,” elaborated Mr. Lacroix.

During the meeting, Peter Col Wal, speaker of the Upper Nile state assembly, urged UNMISS to support peace activities in his state.

Today in the capital, Juba, after wrapping up his three-day visit to the country, Mr. Lacroix reiterated, at his final press conference, the importance of the initiative led by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) aimed to revitalize the peace agreement.

“Clearly it is a very important and positive thing that the countries in the region are being more engaged in helping South Sudan return to peace,” he said. “The UN has welcomed and supported this new engagement by the IGAD and looks forward to that process moving forward.”

He noted that the UN would continue to closely follow the national dialogue process to ensure that it is conducted in an inclusive and transparent manner, saying that it “can be a helpful instrument in bringing together stakeholders and helping them resolve their differences especially at the local level.”

The peacekeeping chief also called on all parties to stop fighting and to make all efforts towards a cessation of hostilities.

Finally, Mr. Lacroix expressed concern about the dire humanitarian situation and reiterated that the UN is working impartially to help everyone in South Sudan, irrespective of ethnic and religious affiliation.

“The UN is acting impartially in helping everyone in South Sudan, irrespective of their ethnic or religious or any other affiliations. I really appreciate that this impartiality was recognized by the leadership during my meetings with them. So we are determined to continue doing our best to help the population,” he said.

 

South Sudan: SPLM-FPD statement on Martyrs Day 2017 (31.07.2017)

South Sudan: Lt. Gen. John Kenyi Loburon letter of Resignation from SPLM-IO to Join NAS (28.07.2017)

South Sudan: Dr. Riek Machar states – “IGAD High Level Revitalization Forum is a Failed Initiative” (29.07.2017)

IGAD: Communique of the 58th Extra-Ordinary Session of IGAD Council of Ministers on the Situation in South Sudan (24.07.2017)

Troika and EU Joint Statement on South Sudan (25.07.2017)

WASHINGTON D.C., United States of America, July 25, 2017 – The members of the Troika (Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and the European Union condemn the continuing violence in South Sudan, especially the Government of South Sudan’s current offensive against SPLM-In Opposition (SPLM-IO) forces near Pagak, as well as ongoing road ambushes and attacks by the SPLM-IO. The Pagak offensive is a clear violation of the unilateral ceasefire declared by President Salva Kiir on May 22, and calls into question the government’s commitment to reach peace through the National Dialogue, notwithstanding the sincere efforts undertaken by the leaders of the Steering Committee.

The Troika and EU repeat and endorse the June 12 call by the leaders of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) for President Kiir to ensure that his forces respect the unilateral ceasefire, for the armed opposition groups to reciprocate the ceasefire, and for all groups to allow the unfettered delivery of humanitarian assistance to all those in need. We also welcome IGAD’s announcement of a High-Level Revitalization Forum for the South Sudan peace process. We call upon IGAD to expeditiously convene the Forum, and to include the current principal parties to the conflict. Likewise, we urge all parties to fully participate in the Forum. The Troika and EU agree with IGAD that the Forum should focus on achieving a ceasefire and resuming political dialogue that focuses on updating the agreement’s timelines and other provisions that are now obsolete in light of the expansion of conflict since 2015.

The proliferation of violence, displacement, and food insecurity renders any discussion of elections in the foreseeable future as an unnecessary diversion from the primary goals of achieving peace and reconciliation. South Sudan’s leaders, neighbors, and regional and international partners must first focus on achieving peace in order to create the conditions needed to hold credible elections. To achieve these urgent goals, we look forward to the prompt revitalization of an inclusive and credible peace process by IGAD; such progress would be required in order for the Troika and EU to commit further resources to institutions designed to implement the agreement.

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