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UN urges S. Sudan parties to respect ceasefire, protect civilians

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February 27, 2014 (JUBA) – The United Nations emergency relief coordinator said South Sudan’s conflicting parties must abide by their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights laws, respect the agreed ceasefire as well as protect civilians.

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Valerie Amos, the UN humanitarian coordinator, speaks to the press in South Sudan’s Jonglei state on 8 February 2012 (ST)

Valerie Amos, in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune, also decried the act of targeting civilian facilities in the country, urging conflicting parties to allow safe access to civilians by aid workers.

“The United Nations and our humanitarian partners will continue to do our best to help the women, children and men of South Sudan to survive this crisis, despite the ongoing fighting and funding constraints,” she said.

“The people of South Sudan want peace and stability and they want this conflict to end,” added the official, also the UN undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs.

Violence broke out in South Sudanese capital, Juba in mid-December last year after a dispute between the presidential guards, leaving thousands dead and nearly a million homeless.

Amos further said she was “deeply” concerned by the grave humanitarian situation in South Sudan, exacerbated by lack of food, outbreaks of disease and the continued violence.

More than 100 people, according to the UN, died in last week’s outbreak of violence in Malakal, a strategic town in the oil-rich Upper Nile state, with several others injured. Many of those killed were reportedly in hospitals, churches and places of sanctuary where they sought refuge.

“The situation remains tense, with bodies left on the streets and over 20,000 people sheltering at the UN base,” said Amos, adding “Civilians and local aid workers fear for their lives.”

At least 3.7 million South Sudanese, recent UN estimates show, are desperately in need of food, while some 190,000 have fled the new nation into neighboring countries.

(ST)

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