UNHCR applauds South Sudan’s accession to the International Convention to protect Internally Displaced

UNHCR applauds South Sudan’s accession to the International Convention to protect Internally Displaced

Source: EIN Presswire

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency welcomes South Sudan’s ground-breaking accession to the 2009 African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa, also known as the Kampala Convention.

The Kampala Convention is the first and only regional legally binding instrument for the protection and assistance of internally displaced persons, which incorporates the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.

“South Sudan becomes the 28th country to ratify the Kampala Convention. This is a significant milestone achieved by the world’s newest country. It is also timely as this year marks the tenth anniversary of the Convention.” UNHCR Representative to South Sudan, Mr. Johann Siffointe said.

Its accession has come at a time when South Sudan and the whole Africa region are faced with complex and protracted internal displacement challenges affecting millions of men, women and children. The Kampala Convention will guide a critically important legal framework in South Sudan for protecting, assisting and finding solutions for almost 2 million internally displaced South Sudanese, as well as for the prevention of future displacement by addressing the root causes.

“While congratulating South Sudan’s important and historic step forward, UNHCR urges South Sudan to move beyond accession and towards national legislation. South Sudan must ensure that the Convention leads to positive changes which will enable South Sudan to respond and find solutions for internally displaced South Sudanese,” Mr. Siffointe emphasized.

UNHCR applauds South Sudan’s encouraging step forward to protect almost 2 million internally displaced South Sudanese as well as more than 2.3 million South Sudanese refugees in neighbouring countries.

While the government is primarily responsible for the provision of emergency assistance and effective protection for internally displaced persons, UNHCR will continue to ensure that internally displaced South Sudanese have an access to adequate assistance and protection, and seek durable solutions.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 

First Vice President of South Sudan H.E. Taban Deng Gai Calls for More Cooperation with Russia

First Vice President of South Sudan H.E. Taban Deng Gai Calls for More Cooperation with Russia

Source: EIN Presswire

The First President of the Republic of South Sudan, H.E. Taban Deng Gai, is leading this week a South Sudanese delegation to the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum, where he talked about investment opportunities and the need for a stronger cooperation between Russia and South Sudan.

“With the resumption of peace and security, the government of the Republic of South Sudan has been especially active in attracting investment to the country. These efforts are proving successful: we have recently signed a second Exploration & Production Sharing Agreement for our biggest oil block last month, and are proud to have welcomed sizeable new entrants into our oil licenses over the past few years. We are proud to count Rosneft and other Russian energy companies as the partners of the rebuilding of South Sudan’s economy and oil industry,” he said.

H.E. the First Vice President notably insisted on the importance of the Russian support to South Sudan’s political stability and economic prosperity. He welcomed Russia’s various initiatives to strengthen its dialogue with Africa this year, and invited more Russian companies to come and do business in South Sudan. “We have committed to a long-lasting peace, prosperity and security for our people, and have emerged as a true African and global frontier of opportunity where everything is possible and the prospect of building a new world has become a reality,” he added.

Talking about the importance of South Sudan’s cooperation with Russia when it comes to energy and oil & gas, H.E. Taban Deng Gai notably highlighted the numerous investment opportunities offered to foreign investors within South Sudan’s oil industry. These include blocks B1, A1 to A6, E1 and E2, but also opportunities in pipeline infrastructure to the Indian Ocean, and in downstream infrastructure with the Safinat Refinery. “Our energy relations with Russia go beyond that of investments,” he explained. “We welcomed Russia’s support and engagement in South Sudan across the value chain, including when it comes to sharing experiences on local content and developing capacity building programs for our engineers.” H.E the First Vice President was accompagnied by Minister of Petroleum, H.E. Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, who invited Russian companies and investors to participate in the upcoming South Sudan Oil & Power Conference in Juba on October 28-30, 2019.

The Republic of South Sudan has been successful in bringing back damaged and oilfields into production. The national oil production has been steadily increasing to reach a current state of over 180,000 bopd. As efforts continue to develop the sector, pre-independence production levels of 350,000 bopd should be reached by 2020. The government has been reforming the business climate to attract investments across South Sudan’s economy and welcomes all foreign investors to come and make business in the country.

Source: Distributed by APO Group on behalf of South Sudan Ministry of Petroleum.

South Sudan government denies committing crimes against civilians

South Sudan government denies committing crimes against civilians

Source: Xinhua|Editor: xuxin

JUBA, June 6 (Xinhua) — South Sudan on Thursday denied accusations by Human Rights Watch (HRW) that government troops committed atrocities against civilians in the country’s southern region of Yei River state.

Government spokesman Michael Makuei said the HRW report was meant to tarnish the name of the government at a time when the country is implementing the September 2018 peace deal.

“This report was written in order to tarnish the image of the government of South Sudan and the army in particular,” Makuei said. “This is not true and there is nothing as such.”

The HRW report, released on Tuesday, accuses South Sudanese soldiers of carrying out extensive abuses against civilians during counter-insurgency operations between December 2018 and last March.

The report alleged that government soldiers raped civilians, looted property, burned houses, and evicted thousands of residents from their homes in Otogo and Mukaya areas during an operation against a rebel group, the National Salvation Front.

Military spokesman Lul Ruai Koang also dismissed the report, saying the government ceased fighting rebels since signing of the peace deal last year.

“We have never gone on offensive or counter-operation during the time they indicated in their report,” Koang said. “If there were crimes that were committed, they should have been committed by the rebels who are roaming in the forests of Yei River state.”

South Sudan descended into civil war in late 2013 and the conflict has created one of the fastest growing refugee crises in the world.

The United Nations estimates that about 4 million South Sudanese were displaced internally and externally.

A peace deal signed in August 2015 collapsed following renewed violence in the capital Juba in July 2016.

Under the September 2018 peace agreement, opposition leader Riek Machar, together with four others, will be reinstated as vice president of South Sudan.

On May 3, signatories to the latest peace deal agreed to extend the formation of a transitional government by six months, following delays in the implementation of the pact over unresolved security issues.

South Sudan inaugurates European Union-funded bridge in Warrap State

South Sudan inaugurates European Union-funded bridge in Warrap State

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the European Union have officially handed over the completed Kwacjok Bridge to the Government of South Sudan that links Lunyaker, Kwacjok and Kangi regions for long separated by the Jur River.

The 120-metre long bridge is part of a €20.3 million (US$ 24.8 million) European Union-funded project to construct and maintain a total 100 kilometres of road infrastructure in Warrap and Western Bahr el Ghazal states.

Built at a total cost of US$6.5 million, the bridge will connect tens of thousands of people and is key not only for humanitarian operations but is expected to boost farm-to-market access and commercial activities in the region as well.

“The project is more than just a bridge,” says Rebecca Okwaci, Minister of Roads and Bridges. “This is an investment in various sectors of South Sudan including education, agriculture, health, transport and tourism.”

Construction, undertaken in phases since January 2018, consisted of a reinforced concrete sub-structure based on piled foundations, the supply and installation of the prefabricated bridge superstructure and development of seven kilometres of approach roads.

Led by a construction firm under the supervision of WFP engineering teams, up to 80 local people were employed as workers, including electricians, welders, equipment operators, and drivers, creating much-needed job opportunities.

“This bridge is part of a larger infrastructure investment programme which has been continuously supported by the European Union, since 2012, with a significant financial contribution of over €58 million,” says EU Ambassador to South Sudan Dr Sinead Walsh.

“I am proud to see how effectively the EU funds have been channelled for the benefit of the end users and the communities of this region and I reaffirm that the EU will stand with the South Sudanese people on their path towards peace, stability, security and prosperity.”

South Sudan has a road network of over 20,000 kilometres, but only 200 kilometres is paved. Decades of conflict and years of neglect have stunted infrastructure development in the country. Road travel is therefore difficult with 60 percent of the country inaccessible during the six-month long rainy season from June to November every year.

“The project will transform the dynamics of transportation in surrounding communities, and counties,” says Ronald Sibanda, WFP’s Country Director in South Sudan. “As well as improving the movement of goods and people, the bridge lays a strong foundation for the socio-economic growth of the region by facilitating regional trade and community integration across the river.”

The Kwacjok Bridge is the latest WFP engineering project in South Sudan. Since 2013, WFP has completed the construction and upgrade of more than 500 kilometres of roads and built 30 structures including culverts and bridges across Central, Eastern and Western Equatoria, Warrap and Western Bahr el Gazal.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Food Programme (WFP). 

Sudan: Remove Rapid Support Forces from Khartoum streets immediately

Sudan: Remove Rapid Support Forces from Khartoum streets immediately

From EIN Presswire

Following the suspension of Sudan from the African Union after the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) led the horrific slaughter of more than 100 peaceful protestors over the past three days, Amnesty International’s Secretary General Kumi Naidoo said:

“The Transitional Military Council of Sudan must immediately withdraw all members of the Rapid Support Forces from policing and law enforcement anywhere in Sudan and especially in Khartoum. They must be ordered off the streets and confined to their barracks in the interests of public safety.

“What we have witnessed in the past three days is horrific and barbaric. The senseless killing of protestors must be stopped immediately, and those responsible for the bloodbath, including at command level, must be held fully accountable for their dreadful actions,” said Kumi Naidoo.

Amnesty International is also calling for the immediate unblocking of the internet and social media to allow the people of Sudan access to information and the opportunity to exercise their freedom of expression.

Background

Since 3 June, media outlets have widely reported attacks on protestors with live ammunition, teargas, whips and sticks by the RSF paramilitary officers across Sudan.

According to the Central Committee of Medical Doctors, more than 100 people have been killed and hundreds more injured. The security forces tried to conceal their acts by dumping dead bodies weighted with bricks in the River Nile, 40 of which are reported to have floated back to the surface, according to the doctors’ committee.

Hundreds of people have been arrested and detained in the past three days, including recently returned opposition leader Yassir Saeed Arman, whose whereabouts are unknown. Yassir, who is the deputy chairperson of Sudan’s People Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) and was one of the SPLM lead negotiators during the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended the war between the north and south of Sudan in 2005, has an unwarranted death sentence hanging over his head. He must be released immediately and unconditionally.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Amnesty International. 

Juba forum explores ways to advance the status of women in South Sudan

Juba forum explores ways to advance the status of women in South Sudan

By Joshua Mmali (Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).)

A two-day national advocacy forum on women, peace and security has concluded in Juba, with discussions having focused on ways to influence and achieve women’s effective participation in governance and the country’s peace process.

“It’s very crucial for us to have this working group, so that we can see and learn lessons from the women who came from Liberia and Kenya, so that we can put it in action,” said Betty Sunday Ben Kute, from South Sudan’s Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO), underscoring the importance of the workshop.

0rganized by the Political Affairs Division and the Gender Affairs Unit of the United Nation Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), the forum is a culmination of 37 workshops that have taken place across ten regions of South Sudan, with 10 representatives drawn from across the country.

“There’re a lot of things that need to be done in South Sudan, and we cannot do that alone. We need to come together as women in the region, continent, and as women of South Sudan, to work together for peaceful coexistence,” said Betty.

In the country’s revitalized peace agreement, signed in Addis Ababa in September 2018, women have been allotted 35% representation at all levels of governance through affirmative action.

The Juba forum has been looking at how women can take up the duties and responsibilities in implementing and safeguarding that 35% participation.

“The Revitalized Agreement offers ample opportunities and I believe the time is now for the women of South Sudan to make the utmost use of this window to effect positive change,” said Moustapha Soumaré the deputy head of UNMISS in charge of political affairs.

Alukir Malual, the chair of the South Sudan Civil Society Alliance was a signatory on behalf civil society organisations at the Addis Ababa accord. She spoke with pride and great cheer when considering how far South Sudanese women have come.

“We’re growing. I feel we’re doing well because we’ve really, smartly taken advantage of the peace process where we’ve made sure we’ve gained more for women. It was, according to the previous affirmative action, 25%. But now, it’s 35%, because we managed to unite as women and as groups, and came up with one position, and made one demand, and I think that was marvelous; it was well done by the women of South Sudan.”

Kenya’s Martha Karua, herself a lead player in her country’s political leadership, commended South Sudanese women for achieving the 35% representation in the revitalized peace agreement, noting that it was a feat that had surpassed what women had achieved in her own country.

“I want to congratulate you women of South Sudan, not for the 25% (contained in the 2011 transitional constitution), because you have since moved to 35% in the revitalized peace agreement,” she said, stressing the need to document women’s participation.

“I want you to note, that women’s participation is always minimized by not being documented; not being remembered. And we need those examples so that our young ones can see that it’s a normal thing for women to participate. So, now that you’re in the process, start documenting your experiences, your participation in the processes. Don’t forget that the 35% percent has come because women participated,” she said.

“This workshop is about the urgency of women’s agency in participating in the peace process. Because, even if the peace process is slowly rolling out, it’s important that women catch it from the beginning to the end,” said Maria Nakabiito from the UNMISS Gender Affairs Unit.

“It’s also important to bring the experiences of where others have been though a similar process, like in Kenya and Sierra Leone, to share beforehand what the women in South Sudan can do differently from what they have been doing to achieve better results,” Maria noted.

The forum explored ways to reach a possible Action Plan for achieving a genuine realization of the peace agreement’s affirmative action for women.

The action plan would entail advocacy to accelerate women’s effective participation in governance and the revitalized peace agreement, by identifying targets and allies for advocacy among men.

“Using this National Advocacy Forum, let us explore workable strategies and effective messaging to move forward our collective goals of advancing women’s access to the political space and their effective participation in the peace process,” noted Mr. Soumare the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, urging the group to discuss how to engage and influence men not only to support the advancement of women at all levels but also to become “champions” to promote and protect the cause of women.

“The only thing that I’ve seen is that we’re supposed to do, is not to hold such workshops for women alone; we also need our male partners to be there, so that they listen and see. We listen and share amongst ourselves, but we want them also to confirm that what happened there had been done by all of us, not women alone,” reiterated Ms. Alukir Malual.

Dr. Bernadette Lahai, the current Minority Leader of the Parliament of Sierra Leone, was on hand to offer a word of caution to the women of South Sudan, urging them to pursue peace as a priority.

“In your peace process, you should not relent. You must organize and stay focused. For now, in South Sudan, the most important thing is peace, because without peace, there isn’t going to be any development,” she said, imploring them to shun war because women bear the brunt of war, with dire consequences. The forum’s participants also looked at how to engage with civil society on a women’s agenda for peace and security.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).