June 05, 2018(Nyamilepedia) —– The South Sudan Human Rights Society for Advocacy(SSHURSA) condemns in the strongest terms the attack on the peacekeepers of the United Nations Mission In South Sudan(UNMISS).
UNMISS was attacked on 4 June, 2018 in Rubkway, a few kilometers away from Leer County in South Sudan’s Western Upper Nile region.
According to UNMISS reports, its convoy consisting of peacekeepers and civilians came under fire when it stopped briefly to interact with a civilian in Rubkway, about 20 kilometers north of Leer town.
“The team was on a short patrol from the Mission’s Leer Temporary Operations Base to Thaker, in Mayendit County.” UNMISS said.
Responding to UNMISS reports, SSHURSA calls it disrespectful to attack the peacekeepers and civilians in South Sudan.
“Attacking UNMISS is utter disrespect not only to UNMISS but also to the entire United Nations(UN), of which South Sudan is a member.” SSHURSA Statement adds.
South Sudan signed the Status of Forces Agreement(SOFA) with UNMISS in 2011, an agreement that has been continually renewed and remains effective
SOFA, like UN Charter, calls for respect of UNMISS and inviolability of UN premises, property and personnel.
According to the South Sudanese Human Rights group, attacking UNMISS is a violation of SOFA and an organized incitement of UNMISS.
“Attacking UNMISS is a violation of SOFA and organised incitement against UNMISS. There is no any excuse by any group to attack(being South Sudan government forces or armed Opposition).” Said Biel Butros Biel, the executive Director of SSHURA.
“UNMISS peacekeepers are not an enemy. They offer their services to the suffering South Sudanese.” Biel Added.
SSHURSA recommends immediate investigation into the attack and urge UNMISS and parties to publish a public statement that identifies those who are responsible for such attacks and hold the perpetrators accountable.
“Calls for full and speedy investigations, starting with who in control of Rubkway area as whichever party in control(government or armed opposition), ought to know who attacked UNMISS personnel.” SSHURSA recommends.
“Urges UNMISS and parties to investigate and boldly publish a report for the public to know the attackers and such persons, through proper channels, must be held responsible.” SSHURSA continues.
SSHURSA calls on armed groups to respect the world bodies and allow them access to carry out their responsibilities,
“Calls on armed parties to respect the inviolability of UNMISS under SOFA and UN Charter.” The report adds
This attack will not be the first attack on civilians and UNMISS.
South Sudan government forces and armed militias have attacked civilians in UNMSS camps in the past in Bor, Malakal and Juba, and although scores were killed, South Sudan and the United Nations have failed to investigate and hold the perpetrators accountable.
“If perpetrators of attacks on UNMISS are left free as has been repeatedly done in Malakal and Juba, impunity will continue unabated. The perpetrators will remain emboldened by the impunity.” Biel Botros adds.
“Attacking UNMISS and civilian vehicles and property constitute a war crime and any belligerent party must be conversant of the consequences of such a crime. This disrespectful behaviour on UNMISS must stop.” Biel continued.