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JMEC calls for immediate release of aid workers

 

By David Mono Danga

The Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) is calling for the immediate release of ten aid workers who went missing in Yei River state last week.

JMEC said in a press statement on Saturday that the surge in fighting and the detainment of ten humanitarian aid workers are unacceptable violations of the 2017 Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities, Protection of Civilians and Humanitarian Access,

“JMEC condemns this latest violation of the two-signed Agreements, which demand unimpeded access for humanitarian aid workers in South Sudan,” read the statement.

the Commission said it is “dismayed” by reports that ten aid workers, working for UN agencies and NGO’s and supporting people in need, have gone missing from around Yei town in Central Equatoria.

“JMEC expects this deplorable situation to be resolved as quickly as possible and that the aid workers are found and released immediately and unconditionally.”

On Wednesday last week, Ten humanitarian aid workers from national NGOs, international NGOs and UN agencies went missing in Yei town while conducting a humanitarian needs assessment research.

A number of bodies have repeatedly condemned the incident, saying other incidents in the recent past have resulted into death of aid workers. The South Sudan NGO Forum also demanded for the immediate release of the aid workers last week calling for an end to attacks on Aid workers in South Sudan.

“In order to prevent the already dire conditions deteriorating, aid workers must be facilitated to deliver humanitarian assistance safely and without any threat or risk to their lives.”

 

“NGOs condemn all forms of attack against humanitarian aid workers and appeal to parties to the conflict to not lose sight of those most affected by the ongoing crisis in South Sudan including vulnerable women, children and elderly people. All parties must support the efforts of humanitarian aid workers to save lives and alleviate suffering for dignified human beings in the world’s youngest nation,” the statement concluded.

The South Sudan Humanitarian Response plan for 2018 affirms that 4 million people have been displaced since the conflict broke out in 2013 including 1.9 million internally displaced people, with over 85 per cent estimated to be women and children. The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) projects that in the absence of all forms of humanitarian assistance in May– July 2018, an estimated 7.1 million people (63% of the population) will face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse acute food insecurity, of which 155,000 are estimated to be in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) and 2.3 million are estimated to be in Emergency (IPC Phase 4).

This is the second incident involving aid workers being held by armed groups in April alone, and the third in six months. This month, rebels of former First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar released seven aid workers they had detained in March in Morobo County of Yei River State.

In March alone 70 humanitarian access incidents were reported, of which 42 of the cases involved violence according to the UN.

 

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