January 10, 2014 (JUBA)- The United Nations mission in South Sudan has protested restrictions imposed by authorities on their movement, specifically citing their alleged inability to respond to humanitarian operations in areas worst-hit by nearly a month of violence in the country.
- Hilde Johnson who head the UN mission in South Sudan addressing the press in Western Equatoria state April 17, 2012 (ST)
“The United Nations calls on all parties to facilitate the operations of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and humanitarian actors. This entails respecting the inviolability of UN facilities, installations and assets, and respecting humanitarian activities, staff and property at all times,” the UN said in a statement issued Friday.
“Non-state actors are also legally accountable for facilitating and respecting the operations of the UN, national and international staff, as well as assets,” it added.
The world body said it was reinforcing its peacekeeping mission and scaling up its humanitarian response and to help protect civilian and assist people in need, and at it required unimpeded access.
“To be able to respond to the significant challenges posed by the crisis in South Sudan, the United Nations is requiring unimpeded access is essential”, stressed the statement extended to Sudan Tribune.
The UN mission, for instance, said it experienced in the past two weeks unacceptable acts that disrupted their operations and exposed their personnel to serious security risks. It said 20 of its vehicles and some belonging to humanitarian agencies have been commandeered or confiscated by anti-government forces in Bor and Bentiu.
Also, several of its storage facilities and warehouses were reportedly looted, offices and accommodation compounds occupied and subsequently ransacked, while one of its helicopters was shot at.
“This is unacceptable. I call on the leader of the anti-government forces, Riek Machar Teny, to instruct the forces under his command to stop this practice, to make sure that looted assets and goods, including vehicles, are immediately returned, and to respect the operations of the UN and our humanitarian partners,” said Hilde Johnson, head of the UN mission in the country.
The top UN official further observed that flights transporting critical supplies for peacekeepers, medical facilities and internally displaced persons had been delayed and hampered by some South Sudanese authorities and its patrol vehicles stopped by members of the security forces.
“These are clear violations of the agreement that regulates the UN’s presence in South Sudan, and is preventing UNMISS from implementing its mandate,” Johnson stressed.
“We call on the Government of the Republic of South Sudan to facilitate the work of UNMISS at this critical time, and fully respect the mutually agreed legal framework for the UN’s work in the country. This is of utmost importance for the operations of the Mission,” she added.