(Juba, August 11, 2022) I condemn in the strongest terms the continuing violence and attacks against civilians and humanitarian personnel in South Sudan. On August 9, in Ikotos County, Eastern Equatoria State, a clearly marked humanitarian vehicle carrying aid workers was attacked.
During the attack, a South Sudanese aid worker and a member of the local community were killed and others injured. This tragic and senseless loss of life is totally unacceptable. I send my deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of all colleagues affected by this violence, especially those who lost their lives helping others.
This is the fifth aid worker killed in South Sudan since the beginning of this year – an unacceptable loss. I am deeply appalled by the continued violence targeting civilians, humanitarian workers and their property. This attack comes at a time when humanitarian access is increasingly difficult, humanitarian space is shrinking and funds for humanitarian action are dwindling.
People’s lives and livelihoods have been disrupted by fighting, gender-based violence and climate shocks. As a result, people’s needs, including life-saving services, have increased dramatically. We humanitarians cannot provide life-saving assistance to the most vulnerable, including women, children, the elderly and the disabled, while we are under attack. No one should have to make the ultimate sacrifice trying to save the lives of others.
I reiterate my call on all armed actors to respect international humanitarian law and immediately stop targeting civilians, women, humanitarian personnel and their property. Humanitarians must have safe and unimpeded access to serve those in need and must not be a target. Humanitarian aid can only reach the most vulnerable people if there is an enabling environment for humanitarian actors. I also call on the government to respond to the devastating attacks on humanitarians and civilians by ensuring that the perpetrators are identified and brought to justice.
South Sudan has been one of the most dangerous places for aid workers since 2013, with 319 violent incidents reported in 2021 targeting aid personnel and assets. In 2021 alone, five aid workers were killed in the line of duty; and five aid workers have been killed since the start of 2022.
Note to Editors
For more on humanitarian access in South Sudan, see the 2021 access snapshots here: First: bit.ly/3dZQtGw; Second: bit.ly/3hBasNB; Third: bit.ly/2ZWh1nK; 2021 Humanitarian Access Preview: bit.ly/3OCNJiG
For more information, please contact:
Wilfred Vundru, Reports Officer, email@example.com|
Krasimira Antimova, Public Information Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org|
OCHA press releases are available at www.unocha.org/south-sudan or www.reliefweb.int.
- United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA’s activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.