March 4, 2014 (JUBA) – The Chinese government has committed $1.6million for the construction of new shelters for people displaced to United Nations compounds in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, ahead of the rainy season.
- The Chinese ambassador to South Sudan, Ma Qiang (L), Charles Manyang (C), undersecretary to the ministry of foreign affairs and Anne Marie van den Berg (R), deputy-director of UNMISS, sign letter of endorsement in Juba on 4 March 2014 (ST)
A letter of endorsement, signed by Chinese ambassador to South Sudan Ma Qiang and Charles Manyang, the undersecretary to the foreign affairs ministry, provides the UN mission in the country (UNMISS) with a mandate to continue the protection of civilians in an area located near its new base.
According to the UN, some 43,324 civilians are currently seeking protection at its two Juba bases, while as of 28 February, an estimated 75, 715 civilians were reportedly sheltering within eight other UN bases across the country.
Anne Marie van den Berg, the deputy director of UN mission support, signed on behalf of the world body.
“We are working together with the government of South Sudan, the government of China to make this new facility for those South Sudanese people to be able to stay during the rainy season,” Anne Marie van den Berg, the deputy director of UN mission support , said at the signing ceremony at the ministry of foreign affairs in Juba.
Ambassador Qiang said his government would continue to support displaced people and press both parties in the conflict to reach a peaceful settlement to the more than two-month-long conflict.
“Political dialogue has once again been proved to be the better choice,” he said after signing the letter endorsement.
Meanwhile, Manyang assured the delegation that no-one’s life was being threatened in Juba, calling on internally displaced people currently sheltering at UN premises to return to their homes. He also reiterated his government’s commitment to protect civilians wherever they chose to stay in the country.
“As long as they (IDPs) feel that they are afraid to come back [to their homes], then the fear itself is the danger,” he said, adding that “the government is completely ready to protect the people and so many people have [already] gone back to their houses.”
An estimated 10,000 people have died and nearly one million displaced after violence broke out in Juba in mid-December last year. More than 190,000 people have also fled to neighbouring countries, including Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya and Sudan.