UN: UN humanitarian chief urges South Sudanese parties to work together for peace

New York, US (PANA) - UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien on Tuesday called on all actors in South Sudan, including the international community supporting the country, to work together for a peace that will enable the nation and its people to realize their hopes for a better future.

Briefing UN reporters via video-conferencing from Juba, mid-way on his three-day mission to crisis-torn South Sudan, the UN relief chief said: "We all need to work together, fast and hard to create peace", noting that, the humanitarian situation has worsened after fighting broke out three weeks ago in and around the capital, Juba, between rival forces backing President Salva Kiir and First Vice-President Riek Machar.

"There is no better platform for people to have hope, to be able to invest in their future, and to be able to utilize the undoubted assets and not just the people of the country but also the land," O'Brien said.

Noting that though rains had been unpredictable, he said that the land offered a lot of promise, saying: "There is opportunity for people to fend for themselves and to grow crops, have an agricultural future [and to] supply others within the country, as well as to create markets and help everybody start generating the opportunities for prosperity."

Underlining that people are compelled to make difficult choices and take incredible risks, such as having to flee their homes when their safety and security or the future of their children is threatened, he noted: "It directly flows from conflict."

"Just as you and I would, if you can’t feed your children, get them to education, find necessary medicines, or have a baby safely if you are pregnant," O'Brien said.

Turning to the challenges humanitarian workers have to contend with on a daily basis, he stressed the need for access for humanitarian workers and those on a humanitarian mission, stating that it is a right that is guaranteed under international laws.

He also added that the conflict had severely restricted aid access, if not prohibited it altogether, in some instances.

The UN relief chief further emphasized that humanitarian workers are driven by humanitarian needs, saying: "They operate on the basis of independence, impartiality and neutrality, and must be given free, unimpeded access to reach all people in need, wherever they may be."

He said that attacks on humanitarian workers or facilities, such as the recent looting of a UN World Food Programme (WFP) warehouse, severely impact the availability of food and relief material for those in need as well as the ability of humanitarian workers to deliver such items to those desperately needing the support.

"The people who looted that warehouse have removed the chance for others to survive and to be protected," he said, adding that those who committed that criminal act must be held accountable.

O'Brien also underlined the importance of partnerships and coordination with the South Sudan government and relief actors on the ground, stressing that harnessing such partnership further strengthens the humanitarian support and makes it more cost effective.

He added that by working with the country's authorities in order to help them deliver on their obligations and provide basic services to the people of the country, both at the local and at the federal level, fosters the conditions for peace to grow and consolidate.

Such a situation, he said, would allow the people of South Sudan, the world’s youngest country, to build a confident country with hopes for the future.
-0-  PANA  AA  2Aug2016

02 august 2016 22:06:51

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