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South Sudan: International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) facilitates release of 15 detainees (28.06.2019)

The ICRC was not involved in any negotiations that preceded the releases, which were initiated through a specific request by the parties to the conflict.

JUBA, South Sudan, June 28, 2019 – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has facilitated the release of 15 persons detained in relation to the conflict in South Sudan.The operation marks the second release of prisoners supervised by the ICRC since the signing of the latest peace agreement – the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) – in September 2018.

“Our role in this week’s release was to first ensure that all detainees were handed over voluntarily and that they had the opportunity to confidentially share their concerns,” said James Reynolds, the ICRC’s head of delegation in South Sudan. “We safely transported the former detainees to Juba, at their request and with the consent of both parties.”

An ICRC medical staff member was present at the release to assess the detainees’ health condition and make sure they were fit to travel. Logistically, three ICRC aircraft were involved to make this release happen.

The ICRC was not involved in any negotiations that preceded the releases, which were initiated through a specific request by the parties to the conflict. “We offered our services to all sides of the conflict and confirmed our readiness to act as a neutral facilitator for the release of detainees as requested,” said Reynolds.

The ICRC was mentioned as a neutral facilitator for the release of detainees in the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities, Protection of Civilians, and Humanitarian Access that was signed between the parties in December 2017 as well as a supervisor for the release of detainees in chapter II of the R-ARCSS. In addition to this week’s release, the ICRC facilitated several release operations last year, including last October with the release of 16 persons.

The ICRC also regularly visits detainees in the places where they are being held in order to monitor their conditions and treatment. The organization works in a confidential way with those in charge of detention matters to discuss possible issues of concern related to the conditions in which detainees are held and their treatment.

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Communique of the 68th Session of the IGAD Council of Ministers on Sudan and South Sudan (19.06.2019)

UNMISS repairs 2500kms of roads to encourage economic growth and peace in South Sudan (13.06.2019)

Engineers from Bangladesh, China, India, Thailand and South Korea have spent six months working intensively levelling and grading roads.

JUBA, South Sudan, June 13, 2019 –

Engineers serving with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan have repaired more than 2500 kilometers of roads to support economic growth and rapprochement so the conflict-affected country can build a peaceful and more prosperous future.

“When South Sudan gained its independence, it inherited infrastructure that was in a dire state with only about 250 kilometers of sealed roads. War and weather have also taken a toll over the years, leaving many roads impassable in the rainy season,” said the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNMISS, David Shearer.

“The efforts of our engineers to rehabilitate major supply routes will make a big difference to people’s lives.” Engineers from Bangladesh, China, India, Thailand and South Korea have spent six months working intensively levelling and grading roads as well as repairing supporting infrastructure, such as culverts and bridges. They have focused on major routes from Juba to Bentiu (940km), Juba-Bor-Pibor (400km) and Malakal (200km).

“We know that when people are able to travel to meet with each other, it is easier to build trust and confidence. In many areas where roads have been improved, we have seen a decrease in violence between groups and an increase in reconciliation and peace-building activities.”

“Many families are also beginning to have the confidence to return to their homes as the security situation improves. Better roads will enable them to travel safely and more easily,” said David Shearer.

“Improved access will also encourage trade, create jobs and economic growth.” “Importantly, humanitarian agencies will be able to reach communities in need and save millions of dollars travelling by road rather than relying on transporting aid by air. UNMISS will also be able to supply its bases and deploy peacekeepers to locations around the country more efficiently and effectively.”

“I would like to thank the countries that have sent their engineers to serve the people of South Sudan. Their efforts are improving people’s lives as well as the prospects of South Sudan securing a peaceful and more prosperous future,” said David Shearer.

UNMISS welcomes ratification of International human rights convenants in South Sudan (07.06.2019)

IMF: South Sudan is in a deep economic crisis!

The International Monetary Fund has today released their press release on the economic and financial crisis, which is there. The IMF is really stating the facts, the dire needs of the state and the need for reform. Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) really has a lot of work to fix this. South Sudan needs peace to fix this and not more civil war. However, what the IMF is stating is really vital to fix the economy.

The Republic of South Sudan needs some serious revamp of the economy when the IMF state it like this. Clearly, the government has more than enough on its plate, but they surely has to focus to get this in order. That shows the pressure on the state to get it fixed.

Take a look!

South Sudan is in a deep economic crisis. Economic conditions have deteriorated rapidly since the beginning of the civil conflict in late 2013. Real GDP is estimated to have declined by 2.4 percent in 2017/18 adding to a cumulated decline of about 24 percent in the last three years. Overall, real disposable income (adjusted for terms of trade) is estimated to have declined by about 70 percent since independence in 2011, contributing to an increase in poverty headcount ratio from 50 percent in 2012 to about 82 percent in 2016” (…) “Fiscal policy has been weakened by the loss of fiscal discipline, deteriorating public financial management, and contracting of non-transparent oil advances, which have increased corruption vulnerabilities” (…) “The banking sector is yet to recover from the adverse effects of the civil conflict, high inflation and strong currency depreciation. Consequently, many domestic banks are heavily undercapitalized and face rising non-performing loans” (International Monetary Fund – ‘IMF Country Report No. 19/153 REPUBLIC OF SOUTH SUDAN 2019 ARTICLE IV CONSULTATION—PRESS RELEASE; STAFF REPORT; AND STATEMENT BY THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH SUDAN’ 04.06.2019).

We are seeing now what is at stake for the government in Juba to fix and ensure that they get to stabilize the economy, as well as finalizing the peace-agreements. So, that the public get enough peace to get the banking sector working, the financial markets running and possibly stop the economic crisis. Which has only been made worse by high inflation, strong currency depreciation and grand corruption. All of this has to get in order and get corporate governance, and financial statutes to safeguard the economy.

This will not happen over night, but the IMF is really warning in their press release and in their staff report. I just showed the gist of it. But it wasn’t positive.

To end with a few final statements from the Executive Board Assessment: “Directors observed, however, that the country is facing a deep economic and humanitarian crisis, and underscored the importance of decisively implementing key reforms to restore macroeconomic stability, strengthen economic buffers, improve governance, and rebuild credibility with the international community” (IMF, 04.06.2019). Peace.

Community of Bur and herdsmen resolve to share pastures and water in dry seasons (31.05.2019)

The feuding communities resolved to share pastures and water points and buried their differences.

JUBA, South Sudan, May 31, 2019 –  We have agreed together to hold anyone that will cause conflict between us accountable, like thieves of goats and cattle,” said Oburak Alex, the landlord of Bur who oversees all traditional rituals and land ownership disputes in the area.

The Bur community in Eastern Equatoria has frequently voiced concerns over aggressive behaviours displayed by pastoralists from Torit East. Incidents of rape, elopement, adultery and destroying crops by letting cattle graze on farm lands, are among the transgressions that have upset the people of Bur.

With indications that violence may have been about to escalate, the Civil Affairs Division of the United Nations in South Sudan decided to support an inter-communal forum aimed at resolving conflicts and strengthen traditional mechanisms to address disputes.

At the end of the two-day get-together, the feuding communities resolved to share pastures and water points and buried their differences, but with a few caveats.

“We are ready to receive them again and give them land to graze for their cattle to graze, but they [the herdsmen] have to come with their wives,” said John Okori Obi, one of the youth representatives in Bur, stressing the importance of immediately implementing the resolution agreed on to put an end to adulterous behaviour.

It was also decided that ambulating pastoralists will communicate their intended movements and appoint someone to speak on their behalf should crimes be committed.

“What you have done is commendable, so we encourage you to implement the resolutions,” said Leah Chan, a representative of the UNMISS civil affairs division in Torit.

South Sudan: UN Arms embargoed renewed, but will it make a difference?

Well, I beg to question if the United Nations Security Council Arms Embargo on the Republic of South Sudan is functional enough or even good enough implemented. As there are already well known facts that a foreign force is on its soil, without the needed mandate. This being the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF). The same army known for exporting arms, training SSDF/SPLA or the government army itself.

That is why I have little faith in the Arms Embargo. Not that I don’t want to see peace and prosperity in the Republic. To the contrary, that is what I want to see, but with the War-Lords, the tensions and the postponement of implementation of the recent Peace Agreement. You can wonder if this is yet another false-flag operation. Since there are little or no movement into peaceful territory.

There been some ceasing of violence, killings and rapes, but its still there. There is still questionable attacks on IDPs and others. Therefore, the army itself and the militias are still pursuing supremacy. It is just a matter of time, before something blows up. Like it did in the last go-around when tanks started moving in the middle of Juba and Dr. Riek Machar had to flee to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

That is why I am sceptical of a renewed arms embargo, as the porous borders to Chad, Uganda and Ethiopia gives way to further import questionable arms and ammunition. As long as there is possible use of petrodollar for that. It will happen, even if we wished it otherwise. To be spent on roads, schools and hospitals. Alas, that is not the case.

We can play around with fun and games, but when IGAD, CSTAM, JMEC and AMISOM are all there, but still not able to find the way through the hurdles. There are so many organizations and people eager for the spoils. You can wonder if they are playing for themselves or for their communities. You can wonder if they really believed in this peace process or only see it again, as a temporary cease-fire. Which I am afraid it might be, because the interests and the parties involved are very slow in implementing the vital parts of the agreement. Even trying to use US Lobbyist to not pursuit it even.

That is why the UN Arms Embargo is good in theory, but not in practice. Because, it seems splendid on paper, but as long as the UPDF get a hold and get products across borders. As long as there are options from elsewhere. The unregistered arms will end up in the battlefield. Because, someone wants to profit of the hurt. Peace.

South Sudan: Letter to all Hotel Managers in Juba – “Ref: Revising the letter of Notification for Termination of NPTC Members Accommodation” (27.05.2019)

South Sudan: The Upper Nile Regional Conference – Communique (26.05.2019)

UNMISS and partners aim to de-militarize civilian facilities; improve conditions for returns in Upper Nile (24.05.2019)

South Sudan People Defense Forces evacuating Kodok Secondary School 20th May 2019. “I hand it officially to the ministry of education witnessed by the Acting governor, head of Child Protection in UNMISS and other organizations and my colleagues, said happily the Division II Commander Majior General Akol Majok on May 20th 2019 at Kodok State. Adding that “this school is for all of us, it’s for our children and citizens. As far as education is concern, we must make sure that our children has gone back to school, because school is one of the pillars of the country.” UN Photo: Isaac Billy

Some community members in the Upper Nile area have said they do not feel safe to return to their home areas.

JUBA, South Sudan, May 24, 2019 –  The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and partners are working with military commanders and government officials to create a safe and secure environment for displaced people to return home, including by demilitarizing civilian installations such as schools and hospitals in the Upper Nile area.

“We are now looking at key areas and activities. On Monday we are going to Kodok, looking at demilitarizing the places the military occupied during the fighting in the last five years,” said Hazel De Wet Head of the UNMISS Field Office in Malakal.

“This will contribute to building trust and understanding for displaced people, that it’s now safe to return to their places of origin,” said Ms De Wet. some community members in the Upper Nile area, especially those living in the UN protection site, have said they do not feel safe to return to their home areas, which are currently occupied by the military.

Recently, several representatives of the displaced people from the UN protection site were taken by UNMISS to the Shilluk King in Fashoda on a “go and see” visit so that, on return to the site in Malakal, they can inform their peers about the conditions in their home areas, which they have not been able to visit for the last five years.

“They are going to stay with the king from the 16th to the 20th of May, and we will be able to facilitate another transportation for them so that they come back to Malakal,” said Braima Keikura from UNMISS’ Relief, Reintegration and Protection Section, who led the team to the king, explaining the significance of the visit.

Creating a safe and secure environment is a major element for returns, and a solution-based working group headed by UNHCR – the UN refugee agency – and key substantive components of UNMISS have developed principle guidelines for this.

“This is the first organized visit to the king. The king is in support and the last time I saw him, he requested support for his subjects to come back,” said Ms. Dewet.

Ms. Dewet pointed out that displaced people had raised concerns about the absence of the services they have been receiving in UN protection sites in their places of origin.

However, she said humanitarian partners were looking at that and they had taken intent surveys and held focus-group discussions on how to scale up their services in the various places that communities have identified as target areas of return.

“Managing expectations of each household in terms of return and what they can expect once they return is a difficult task,” said Ms. De Wet.

She appealed to the international community, including donors, to help returning communities with early recovery intervention efforts to make them self-reliant.

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