July 29, 2016 (JUBA) - South Sudan has abruptly issued new directives instructing immigration officials at entry points to the country not to grant visa and other travel permits to members of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) on arrival.
- UN peacekeepers in South Sudan with one of their helicopters (UNMISS)
The 26 July 2016 letter entitled “Review of UNMISS” travel practices and bearing the signature of Lieutenant General Majak Akec Malok, and was addressed to the undersecretary at the ministry of foreign affairs and international cooperation, Joseph Ayok Anei.
“You inform UNMISS that all entries must be communicated to the foreign ministry through note verbal at least 72 hours before arrivals. Directorate of Nationality, Passports and Immigration will no longer grant visas on arrivals without prior notice as has been the practice,” the letter seen by Sudan Tribune reads in part.
The letter claimed the decision was a result of a number of discussions held between the foreign ministry and the United Nations mission in the country since 2015 in accordance with the status of force agreement (SOFA) and the current security situation which requires extra measures and the need to relevant security institutions on the entries into the country.
Thomas Kenneth, deputy spokesperson of the ministry of foreign affairs, confirmed the authenticity of the letter on Friday and asserted that the United Nations and other international organizations operating in the country need to respect and comply with the directives.
“South Sudan is sovereign nation and so UNMISS and other international organizations operating here should respect and comply with the laws and directives,” said Kenneth.
It is not clear why United Nations personnel are targeted by the alleged directives.