Sudan: UN welcomes ceasefire, warns against impunity in South Sudan

Khartoum, Sudan (PANA ) - The United Nations Mission in South Sudan has welcomed a new ceasefire announcement by the parties to the current conflict in South Sudan, President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Rieck Machar on Monday.

At a press briefing in New York, the UN Secretary-General's Spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for South Sudan, Ellen Margrethe Loj, strongly urged all parties to adhere to the ceasefire and called on South Sudanese leaders to ensure that the order was conveyed through all security forces’ chains of command so that soldiers return to their barracks.

Ms. Loj  also urged security forces in Juba to allow unhindered access to UNMISS patrols to protect the civilian population and called on the parties to allow civilians to move freely to places of refuge.

She urged the Government to open up corridors to allow UN and humanitarian actors to provide vital supplies and other assistance to the affected civilians, as well as access for medical evacuations.

“The mission reports that the ceasefire seems to be largely holding, barring sporadic gunfire. It also reports that the airport in the capital has been reopened although commercial flights remain suspended.

"Peacekeepers were able to conduct a limited number of short patrols in Juba today” the spokesman said after receiving a briefing from the UN forces on the ground in Juba.

The spokesman revealed that since the fighting began on Friday, some 5,000 additional displaced people have sought protection in the UN's Tomping compound in the capital.

Another 3,000 IDPs who arrived at the UN House premise have been relocated to the protection of civilians’ site nearby.

He said  humanitarian colleagues on the ground  also reported that preliminary estimates indicated that some 36,000 people have been displaced by the fighting and that most of the affected people were women and children.

The UN said the humanitarian situation is “grave and the needs are immense, made worse by heavy rains.”

United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide on the situation in South Sudan, Adama Dieng, has meanwhile  expressed deep concern at the threat to the populations of South Sudan posed by the renewed fighting of the last few days.  

“Several hundred people have already been killed, including civilians seeking refuge. Some of the civilians killed were reportedly targeted based on their ethnicity,” Dieng said
In a press release received by PANA in Khartoum on Tuesday, the UN official  referred to a statement by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon calling on President Kiir and First Vice President Machar to do everything in their power to de-escalate hostilities immediately and ensure the withdrawal of their forces to their bases.

Dieng has stressed the urgent need to end impunity in South Sudan and bring to justice all those responsible for violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.
-0- PANA MO/AR 12July2016

12 july 2016 18:41:28

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