Warten auf Waffenruhe
Südsudan: Kämpfe auch nach der Unterzeichnung *
Ungeachtet der Unterzeichnung eines Waffenruheabkommens gibt es wohl neue Kämpfe in Südsudan. Offiziell trat das Abkommen erst am Freitagabend in Kraft.
Einen Tag nach der Vereinbarung eines Waffenstillstandes ging die Gewalt in Südsudan offenbar weiter. »Die Streitkräfte von (Präsident) Salva Kiir sind damit beschäftigt, unsere Positionen im ölreichen Bundesstaat Unity anzugreifen«, teilte der Militärsprecher der Rebellen, General Lul Ruai Koang, am Freitag mit. Die Regierungstruppen hätten zudem weitere Orte angegriffen, die von den Rebellen kontrolliert werden, darunter auch in der Nähe der Stadt Bor im Bundesstaat Jonglei.
In Südsudan gibt es seit Mitte Dezember schwere Kämpfe zwischen Anhängern Kiirs und Rebellen, die dem im Juli entlassenen ehemaligen Vizepräsidenten Riek Machar nahestehen. Auslöser war ein Machtkampf zwischen beiden Politikern. Die Gewalt in dem erst 2011 unabhängig gewordenen Staat hat aber auch ethnische Hintergründe.
Koang warf der Armee vor, mit den neuen Angriffen das am Donnerstag in der äthiopischen Hauptstadt Addis Abeba unterzeichnete Waffenstillstandsabkommen verletzt zu haben. Seine Männer würden sich mit allen zur Verfügung stehenden Mitteln gegen diese »sinnlose Aggression« verteidigen. Eine Reaktion der Regierungsseite gab es zunächst nicht.
Die ostafrikanische Regionalorganisation IGAD, die vermittelt, betonte jedoch, das Abkommen trete offiziell erst am Freitagabend – 24 Stunden nach Unterzeichnung – in Kraft.
* Aus: neues deutschland, Samstag, 25. Januar 2014
Vieles bleibt schlecht in Südsudan
Roland Etzel zur Waffenstillstandsvereinbarung in Südsudan **
Nichts ist gut in Südsudan – die Dinge so zu beschreiben, liefe vielleicht der aktuellen Entwicklungstendenz zuwider; aber diese als »in die richtige Richtung gehend« zu beschreiben, ist schon wieder beschönigend. Die EU-Außenbeauftragte Ashton äußert sich hoffnungsvoll über die Waffenstillstandsvereinbarung zwischen den verfeindeten Lagern in Südsudan. Aber was soll sie auch anderes sagen? Leistete die EU gemeinsam mit den USA doch kräftige Geburtshilfe bei der Staatswerdung des nichtmuslimischen Teils der Republik Sudan und muss nun auch dabei helfen, die tödlichen Händel der dabei an die Macht Gekommenen einzudämmen.
Wenn Präsident Kiir und sein Rivale und Vizepräsident Machar der geforderten Feuereinstellung zustimmten, tut man ihnen wohl nicht sehr unrecht, wenn man sagt: Dieses Einlenken ist vor allem dem Umstand zu schulden, dass beide ohne den Segen des Westens finanziell auf dem Trockenen säßen und so auch keine neuen Waffen erwerben könnten.
Es bleibt vieles sehr schlecht in Südsudan. Vor allem für die 400 000 von geschätzt reichlich neun Millionen Einwohnern, die seit Dezember fliehen mussten und die auch jetzt nicht weniger, sondern mehr werden. Die EU sollte aufhören, dies zu beklagen, ehe sie nicht befriedigend beantwortet, warum sie kein Waffenembargo über Südsudan verhängt.
** Aus: neues deutschland, Samstag, 25. Januar 2014 (Kommentar)
UN hopes South Sudan ceasefire will help alleviate plight of conflict-affected civilians ***
24 January 2014 – As United Nations officials welcome the signing of an agreement to end the fighting in South Sudan, humanitarian agencies are continuing their efforts to assist scores of civilians in need as a result of more than a month of violence.
The ceasefire, signed yesterday in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, by representatives of President Salva Kiir and former deputy president Riek Machar, seeks to end the conflict that began in mid-December and drove nearly 500,000 people from their homes and left twice as many in dire need of aid.
Echoing comments by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon yesterday, his Special Representative and head of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), Hilde F. Johnson, called on all the parties to fully and immediately implement the agreement.
In a news release issued by the Mission, Ms. Johnson also called on the parties to start an inclusive and comprehensive political dialogue to resolve the underlying causes of the conflict, work towards national reconciliation and build effective State institutions “so the people of South Sudan enjoy the peace they so much deserved.”
As hopes rise for an end to the fighting following the signing of the agreement, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) said it is poised to seize any window of opportunity to deliver food assistance to areas that have been difficult to reach.
“We hope that the signing of an agreement in Addis will bring fighting to a stop and allow WFP and other humanitarian agencies to provide urgently needed relief to the people affected by this conflict,” said WFP Country Director Chris Nikoi. “But it is important to note that humanitarian needs will continue, long after the fighting stops.”
So far, WFP has assisted some 178,000 people displaced as a result of the crisis, distributing food in many locations, including Juba, Bentiu, Bor, Malakal, Leer, Mingkaman, Yirol East, Yirol West, Mabior, and Aweng.
WFP said it remains concerned that the conflict has done so much damage that many people will continue to need food assistance for months – or longer – as they attempt to rebuild their lives. Many homes, food markets and small businesses have been destroyed, and many people have lost their annual harvests, leaving them with nothing at a time of year when they struggle to feed their families, the agency said.
WFP has launched a $57.8 million emergency operation to respond to urgent food needs of displaced and conflicted-affected people in South Sudan. Donor contributions are urgently required for this operation and to provide food for the tens of thousands of people who have fled across South Sudan’s borders into the neighbouring countries.
In Uganda, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is kicking off a mass immunization campaign today to prevent the spread of measles among South Sudanese refugees. Five cases have been registered so far and three suspected cases have been reported among the more than 59,000 refugees who have arrived since the conflict began.
The immunization campaign, carried out in cooperation with the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other partners, will cover all refugee and Ugandan children below 15 years in age in the northern districts of Arua and Adjumani districts.
“UNHCR welcomes the signing of the South Sudan ceasefire agreement and hopes it will be implemented to avert further displacement within and outside of the country,” the agency’s spokesperson in Geneva, Adrian Edwards, told reporters.
According to UNHCR, more than 100,000 South Sudanese have fled to neighbouring Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya and Sudan since mid-December. Inside South Sudan, some 490,000 people are at present internally displaced, including 75,000 civilians seeking refuge and protection on UN bases. In addition, South Sudan is host to 230,000 refugees, most of whom are from Sudan.
*** UN News Centre, 24 January 2014; http://www.un.org
Ban, Security Council welcome South Sudan ceasefire agreement****
23 January 2014 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the United Nations Security Council today welcomed the signing of an agreement between anti- and pro-Government forces in South Sudan, a step towards a comprehensive deal that would halt the violence that has engulfed the country for more than a month.
Representatives of President Salva Kiir and former deputy president Riek Machar signed the agreement on cessation of hostilities, following three-weeks of talks mediated by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa.
Mr. Ban “calls on the parties to immediately implement this agreement,” his spokesperson said in a statement, which also congratulates IGAD on its “successful mediation.”
The UN chief also underscored the need to continue without delay a national political dialogue to reach a comprehensive peace agreement, with the participation of all South Sudanese political and civil society representatives, including the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) detainees.
The ceasefire seeks to ease a political dispute in the world’s youngest nation between President Kiir and his former deputy, Mr. Machar, who was removed from office in July of 2013 and later accused of attempting a coup. The tensions escalated on 15 December into a full-scale conflict between forces loyal to either side, driving 400,000 people from their homes and leaving twice as many in dire need of aid.
The 15 members of the Security Council voiced their support for the agreement, welcoming the signing as a move towards comprehensive reconciliation which deals with root causes of the conflict. The Council also condemned violent attacks against civilians.
“The Council Members, all of them, expressed support for UNMISS [UN Mission in South Sudan] and reiterated importance that all parties cooperate fully with UNMISS,” said Mahmoud Daifallah Mahmoud Hmoud, Senior Deputy Permanent Representative of Jordan, which holds this month’s rotating presidency of the Council.
He spoke following a closed-door briefing, via video link from Juba, by Hilde Johnson, the head of UNMISS, and Ivan Simonovic, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, who just returned from an official visit to the country.
In addition, he said the Council condemned “attacks and accusations mounted against UNMISS and called for all parties to stop such acts and cooperate with [the Mission] in the fulfilment of its mandate.”
Echoing the need for cooperation, Mr. Ban reiterated his call for all parties to ensure freedom of movement for UNMISS, humanitarian workers and human rights monitors, and welcomed the Government of South Sudan’s reassurances of its full support to the Mission and commitment to honour its Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA).
“The United Nations stands with the people of South Sudan and will continue to do everything within its means to protect civilians at risk and provide the necessary humanitarian assistance,” Mr. Ban said.
Meanwhile, the UN Mission in the country today confirmed that its peacekeepers completed weapons searches in their eight main bases, where some 76,000 civilians continue to seek refuge.
“The Mission is also seeking to work with national authorities to ensure that areas immediately surrounding its bases are free of weapons,” UN spokesperson Farhan Haq told journalists in New York, quoting the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
The weapons searches come just days after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voiced alarm at the attempt on Sunday by senior members of South Sudan’s Government and military to forcibly enter into the UNMISS compound in Bor, Jonglei state.
In the past 24 hours, the Mission carried out 186 military patrols and 62 police patrols in the capital Juba, and in Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile states.
There are reports of fighting continuing to occur “in multiple locations in the country”, the spokesperson said.
In Bor, the Mission reported hearing gunfire yesterday evening from the north of its compound. The base there is making improvements to strengthen its perimeter walls at its protection site where some 10,000 civilians have been sheltering since fighting broke out about a month ago.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), around 468,000 people are estimated to have been displaced within South Sudan since 15 December. An additional 83,900 have crossed into neighbouring countries, over half to Uganda, according to UN figures.
In Malakal, in the north-eastern part of the country, UNMISS reports that its human rights division continues efforts to verify the accuracy of reported serious human rights violations, to collect evidence and document rights abuses and the violations of international humanitarian law that might have taken place.
Reports and allegations relate to violations by both the so-called ‘White Army’ when it controlled the town, and by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) after it regained the control of the town after 20 January.
The Mission stresses that verification by its human rights team, at this stage, has been extremely difficult because of fighting and subsequent lack of access.
UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Ivan imonovic, is due to brief the Security Council today on his recent visit to eth country. Hilde Johnson, the head of UNMISS, is expected to weigh in via video conference from Juba.
**** UN News Centre, 23 January 2014; http://www.un.org
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