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Bad governance, weak judiciary to blame for subnational violence – UNMISS Chief

Juba, South Sudan,

June 22, 2021 – The rampant subnational clashes in South Sudan characterized by revenge attacks, the killing of aid workers, child abduction, rape, and cattle raiding are a result of bad governance and weak rule of law, Nicholas Haysom, head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan has said.

Bad governance, weak judiciary to blame for subnational violence – UNMISS Chief
Nicholas Haysom, head of the UN Mission in South Sudan and Special Representative to the Secretary-General (photo credit: UNMISS courtesy)

Haysom, who took over from his predecessor David Shearer in May, made the remarks during a presentation to the United Nations Security Council on the situation of South Sudan Monday evening.

The UNMISS Chief said bad leadership and lack of rule of law has led to perpetrators of conflict walking free and the impact of their actions is felt through dire humanitarian conditions they leave in their areas of operations.

“Weak or absent state governance institutions throughout South Sudan have enabled spoilers to exploit perennial communal and ethnic cleavages. Entrenched insecurity has hindered the cultivation of crops and has contributed to a vicious cycle of livestock raiding,” Haysom said.

This, Haysom said, has left “Many communities dangerously short of food supplies in places such as Warrap, Lakes, and Jonglei, to name but a few. Meanwhile, in the Equatorias, the National Salvation Front and the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces remain engaged in intermittent armed conflict.”

Haysom reiterated that while UNMISS collaborates with local communities to address the root cause of conflict, the government has the primary responsibility to ensure the security of its citizens.

“I recently led a delegation of representatives from the AU, IGAD, R-JMEC, and the African diplomatic community based in Juba on a visit to Pibor. We all share a deep concern over the resumption of violence between communities in the Greater Pibor district,” Haysom said.

“While recognizing the importance for Government to take concrete steps to address root causes of the conflict, UNMISS is collaborating with local authorities and communities in Jonglei to promote reconciliation; to secure the release of abducted women and children; facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance,” he added.

Besides poor leadership and a weak judiciary, the Special Representative to the Secretary-General said insecurity in the aforementioned regions is accelerated in part by the dire economic situation in the country.

“Worryingly, weakened rule of law institutions and economic deterioration have led to increased criminality and targeting of humanitarian workers. This year alone, four humanitarian workers have been killed, and millions of dollars of humanitarian supplies looted or destroyed,” Haysom explained The callous and indiscriminate killing of humanitarian workers is deplorable,” Haysom explained.

He said UNMISS recognizes its own important contribution to creating a safe environment for humanitarian partners adding that the Mission will continue to take the lead in promoting and advocating for safe conditions for the delivery of life-saving services.

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