World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Ban Proposes Reinforcing UN Peacekeepers in South Sudan

As South Sudan Conflict Worsens, Ban Proposes Reinforcing UN Peacekeepers

New York, Dec 23 2013 - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called a crisis meeting of his top advisers on the deteriorating situation in South Sudan today and proposed reinforcing the United Nations peacekeeping force there in a bid to stem a conflict increasingly marked by ethnically targeted killings.

“I am determined to ensure that UNMISS [UN Mission in South Sudan] has the means to carry out its central task of protecting civilians,” he told a news conference at UN Headquarters in New York just hours after arriving back from a visit to the typhoon-ravaged Philippines.

“I will be spending most of today calling regional leaders and others to bolster military support for UNMISS, as well as political backing for efforts to defuse the crisis,” he said of the force, which currently has over 6,800 troops and police in the country, where tensions burst into open conflict on 15 December when President Salva Kiir’s Government said soldiers loyal to former deputy president Riek Machar, dismissed in July, launched an attempted coup.

Mr. Kiir belongs to the Dinka ethnic group and Mr. Machar to the Lour Nuer, and Mr. Ban said he was “especially worried” by reports of ethnically targeted killings in the conflict, in which tens of thousands of people have been displaced, including some 45,000 now seeking protection at UNMISS bases.

On Thursday, an estimated 2,000 heavily armed assailants overran an UNMISS base in Akobo, in restive Jonglei state, in a brazen attack that left some 20 Dinka civilians dead along with two UN peacekeepers. Another peacekeeper was wounded. The assailants, believed to be Lour Nuer, fled with arms, ammunition and other supplies.

Yesterday UNMISS said that, as a precautionary measure to reduce pressure on its limited resources, it will relocate non-critical staff from Juba, South Sudan’s capital, to Entebbe in Uganda. It has also relocated all remaining civilian staff from its compound in the Jonglei state capital of Bor to Juba. At the same time, the Mission is planning to reinforce its military presence in Bor and Pariang to continue fulfilling its mandate to help protect South Sudanese civilians.

After the crisis meeting, attended by senior advisers, with Mr. Ban’s Special Representative for South Sudan Hilde Johnson and Special Representative to the African Union Haile Menkerios joining in by video conference, the Secretary-General said he was sending a letter to the Security Council with his recommendations for boosting the protection capacity of UNMISS with additional troops, police and logistical assets.

“We are already approaching countries to help meet the new requirements. We are also looking at other peacekeeping missions, while taking care not to reduce their capacity to respond to threats where they operate,” he added.

“UNMISS is protecting civilians at its bases, supporting humanitarian deliveries, monitoring the human rights situation and investigating reports of abuses,” he noted, praising “our brave peacekeepers,” as well as the mission’s staff and leaders.

“Let me be absolutely clear. The world is watching all sides in South Sudan. Attacks on civilians and the UN peacekeepers deployed to protect them must cease immediately. The United Nations will investigate reports of grave human rights violations and crimes against humanity. Those responsible at the senior level will be held personally accountable and face the consequences – even if they claim they had no knowledge of the attacks.”

He stressed that he has repeatedly called on President Kiir and opposition leaders to come to the table and find a political way out of this crisis. “Whatever their differences may be, they cannot justify the violence that has engulfed their young nation,” he said of the country which only became independent in 2011 after seceding from Sudan.

“They must do everything in their power to immediately ensure that their followers hear the message – loud and clear – that continued violence, ethnic and otherwise, is completely unacceptable. Now is the time for South Sudan’s leaders to show their people and the world that they are, above all, committed to preserving the unity of the nation that was born out of their long struggle for independence.”

Mr. Ban also appealed directly to the people of South Sudan, pledging full UN support.

“The United Nations stood with you on your road to independence,” he declared. “We will stay with you now. I know that the current situation is causing great and growing fear. You are seeing people leave the country amid increasing chaos. The United Nations will stay with you. We will do our utmost to protect you, to provide the humanitarian assistance you need, and most of all to help the country re-gain the path to peace.”

For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Westminster: NZ PM Condemns London Attack

“London is a place many thousands of New Zealanders have visited and called home, and where many more have friends and family based, so this attack feels very close to home,” Mr English says. More>>

ALSO:

Amnesty: Campaign Mass Hangings And Extermination At Syrian Prison

A chilling new report by Amnesty International exposes the Syrian government’s calculated campaign of extrajudicial executions by mass hangings at Saydnaya Prison. Between 2011 and 2015, every week and often twice a week, groups of up to 50 people ... More>>

Russian Hack Job?: White House - Actions In Response To Russian Malicious Cyber Activity & Harassment

President Obama authorized a number of actions in response to the Russian government’s aggressive harassment of U.S. officials and cyber operations aimed at the U.S. election in 2016. More>>

Israel/Palestine: Michael Field - Background To How Israel Nearly Went To War With New Zealand

New Zealand and Senegal managed to get the United Nations Security Council to pass resolution 2334 which said Israel’s settlements in Palestinian territory violate international law and undermine a two-state solution in Israel's conflict with Palestine. More>>

ALSO:

US Indigenous Affairs: How President Obama Has Protected Our Sacred Land

I am very proud to be both Navajo and American. As the President of the Navajo Nation, I’ve dedicated my life to ensuring that, as a Navajo, my story -- and our stories -- are part of our collective American history. Today, I want to share one of those stories with you. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news