Juba, South Sudan
Dec 15, 2016(Nyamilepedia) —– The Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has raised alarming concerns over the deteriorating humanitarian work in the country as Salva Kiir government embarks on expulsion of humanitarian workers and deportation of foreign journalists.
The Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) in South Sudan said it is gravely concerned regarding the deteriorating operating environment, including the recent expulsion of the Country Director of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and the order for a second senior NRC staff member to leave South Sudan.
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Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) had expressed deep dismay about ordering NRC’s Area Manager in Alek, Warrap State, four days after NRC’s Country Director was also ordered to leave the country without giving any formal explanation of the charges against them.
Salva Kiir government, while calling for national dialogue and expressing concerns for peace, has limited humanitarian access to areas where atrocities are being committed and great human suffering is being endued.
When contacted for comment by Nyamilepedia, Mawien Makol Arik, the deputy spokesperson of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said he is not aware of deportation of the NRC officials.
Jan Egeland, NRC’s Secretary General, said the order for a second senior staff member to leave is unacceptable.
Jan cautions that aid organizations, which are operating in South Sudan to save millions of lives, must be permitted to operate without intimidation, interference or fear of expulsion.
“Aid organizations bringing relief to millions in South Sudan must be permitted to operate without interference, intimidation or fear of expulsion. Humanitarian principles must be respected. Ordering aid workers to leave the country without due process restricts the ability of relief organizations to save lives and reduce human suffering,”said Egeland.
“Aid organizations cannot operate under these conditions. Without assurances from the authorities that we will be able to operate without interference, NRC may have to reassess our ability to deliver assistance at scale in South Sudan,” continued Egeland.
HTC stands in solidarity with NRC and calls on the regime to promptly reverse their decisions and to cooperate fully with all international organizations.
“The HCT condemns the deportation of the head of one of the largest operational organizations in South Sudan, and stands in full solidarity with NRC’s call for the Government of the Republic of South Sudan to reverse these decisions and to cooperate fully with all international organizations working to bring aid to the South Sudanese people,” reads parts of the statement from OCHA.
“Humanitarians in South Sudan are striving day and night to assist civilians who have suffered far too much, for far too long. Unacceptable actions such as this significantly undermine the ability of humanitarian organizations to operate at a time when the crisis is deepening and aid is needed most.” OCHA warns
According to OCHA, two other staff of international non-governmental organizations(NGOs) were deported in November, and the Juba-based office of one of the largest South Sudanese national NGOs was also shut-down by national authorities.