News / Africa

South Sudan Proclaims Right to Monitor UN Activities

A protester holds up signs protesting against UNMISS head Hilde Johnson at a rally in Juba after South Sudanese government forces found weapons in a UN overland shipment.
A protester holds up signs protesting against UNMISS head Hilde Johnson at a rally in Juba after South Sudanese government forces found weapons in a UN overland shipment.
Philip Aleu
South Sudan reacted defiantly to a statement by leading western governments calling on the government and opposition groups to stop obstructing U.N. operations and harassing U.N. staff in the war-torn country, saying the government has the right to monitor the world body's activities on its soil.

Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Mawien Makol Arik said the government began stopping and checking U.N. vehicles only after the discovery early this month of weapons in a U.N. convoy bound for Bentiu in Unity state. Arik insisted that his government would continue to check U.N. vehicles.

Arik said, however, that he was unaware of U.N. employees being harassed or U.N. property being seized, beyond the weapons that were intercepted. 

"The idea now is that we have to see what the U.N. is doing because of these guns that have been seized in Rumbek," Arik told VOA.

"Now, the government is concerned with every activity that the U.N. is doing in terms of loading and transporting and all this," the foreign affairs spokesman said. "You know, we said we should be able to see them now because we wanted to know exactly what the U.N. is carrying in South Sudan."

Arik was reacting to a statement released Friday, in which diplomats from 10 western countries, including the United States, plus the European Union protested the obstruction of U.N. operations, seizure of property, and threats to U.N. personnel in war-torn South Sudan, among other issues.

Arik insisted that the government wants to have good relations with the U.N., but said trust has to be rebuilt first.

"All we are saying is that there may be some elements within the U.N. that are not doing the work they were supposed to be doing," he said.

"Our government is cooperating fully with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan and we are working hand-in-hand," the foreign affairs official said.

Opposition forces 'surprised' by western nations' statement

A spokesman for anti-govenrment forces, Hussein Maar Nyuot, said he was surprised that the strongly worded statement also accused the opposition of interfering with U.N. operations.

"We are actually respecting the humanitarian access and humanitarian laws," he said.

"We want our people to be served by the U.N. agencies and other international agencies," Maar Nyuot said. He claimed it was the government, not opposition forces, that was obstructing U.N. and aid agency access to areas held by anti-government troops.

Aid agencies "have to take permission from Juba and Juba does not give them the permission and this is obstruction," he said. Maar Nyout said those preventing access to people in need ran contrary to the terms of the cessation of hostilities agreement the two sides signed in January.

Relations between the government and U.N. soured when the conflict erupted in mid-December.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says a million people have been displaced in 100 days of fighting in South Sudan.The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says a million people have been displaced in 100 days of fighting in South Sudan.
The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says a million people have been displaced in 100 days of fighting in South Sudan.
The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says a million people have been displaced in 100 days of fighting in South Sudan.
Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth from the U.N. 
South Sudanese hold banners during a rally in support of President Salva Kiir's administration in Juba, March 10, 2014.South Sudanese hold banners during a rally in support of President Salva Kiir's administration in Juba, March 10, 2014.
South Sudanese hold banners during a rally in support of President Salva Kiir's administration in Juba, March 10, 2014.
South Sudanese hold banners during a rally in support of President Salva Kiir's administration in Juba, March 10, 2014.

The seizure of the weapons in the U.N. convoy increased tensions and gave "the government a strong reason to believe the U.N. is not very neutral," said Zacharia Diing Akol of the Sudd Institute, a Juba-based think tank.

Akol said that the western nations that signed last week's statement "should not expect the government to do things in the way they would want them."

"Both sides are being unreasonable," Akol said. But he said the statement could pave the way for broader dialogue between the government, the United Nations and western governments.

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Comment Sorting
by: David from: U.S.
April 02, 2014 6:13 PM
Well! From Dinka prospective, it was a fail coup to everybody in the world, it is a fail leadership. When your kids are more educated than you, you would think about going to school. If smart and care about your family but if you are care less you would ask them to leave.

If you UN is really wanting to take over S.Sudan, who will be the president? My point is, for those of you might be confuse UN is an outside organization whose goal is to support those in need. UN could never support any side neither take over the country the insecurity came from unwise leadership.

The man who want to size the leadership by wiping out one tribe after hiring the Head man. Which one the the two UN and Uganda is doing favorite to people of South Sudan? You and I had been or will be help by UN organization. But let me know if bringing dictator to a Democratic elected president is how you should secure the Democracy in your leadership or your country.

There were no coup and will never be no coup fail find in this stupid war. But I know that some one face the consequences of killing innocent people. I am not politician but I know that some play his cards wrongly. Fail coup can now be call fail leadership. Since president cannot even remember what says last night or day after.

S.Sudan definitely need a leader who knows how to bring people together not the one that cannot even step up and convience his people during tough and easy time. My concern's are we going to get back and call our brothers and sisters? If yes who will unite us? And under what circumstances are we going to forget about the deceitful act of December, 2013.

Lets not waste life with improper lie. Coup is something always has evident and of course if you cannot prove the fact to court, please do not waste life and time God Prohibited that You know and i know. God will Condemn the liar watch and learn.

by: wenyin from: canada
March 31, 2014 6:40 PM
Where do rebels get their weapons? It is obvious from the start it was a failed coup. U.N as a body has nothing to do with it, but the imposters networking within the organization. South Sudan has the right to search U.N property to meet their security demends; the well being of its citizens. The ones who would dare to touch any U.N peace keeper in South Sudan; would be those daringly few months ago have KILLED TWO peace keepers from India, shot at USA airplane employed to evacuate their civilians, remember ? They were the rebels. These opposition forces have no central command and has no knowledge of laws of war.
In Response

by: Malong Muorwel from: Melbourne, Australia
April 02, 2014 12:39 AM
There is different bewteen UN, as an entity that comprise of all the civilised nations including its well known mandate, and UN body that is been run by bearucurats that at times might pursue politically motivated interests of some few manipulated powers, outside of it actual agreed mandate....In addition, remember Mr. "take granted" ..Nothing is uncorruptable and no one is an Angel..Please keep your naitivity for yourself...
As for the argument whether there was coup or there was not regarding the 15 December 2013 ..It is not something that ONE SIDED ARGUMENT could fabricate and sold through global media outlets...But that requires that the facts be proved beyond reasonable doubt through an independent and competent body for justification of any claim...
The government of South Sudan is even fair enough by far, when it referred the matter to an open Court of law for those accused to depend themselves from being accused of coup...It is not something that need to be dismissed or confirmed through the media...
In conclusion, there are rules and regulations that qualify for UN membership...HENCE removing any member state from such a body is not something that is being decided through whims or media pressures..Remember there are no coup or conspiracies come to that...
In Response

by: Mark Lual from: Juba
April 01, 2014 1:37 AM
Which of these is observed by the Government in SS?
• Violations of the right to food
• The full range of violations associated with prison camps
• Torture and inhuman treatment
• Arbitrary arrest and detention
• Discrimination, in particular in the systemic denial and violation of basic human rights and fundamental freedoms
• Violations of the freedom of expression
• Violations of the right to life
• Violations of the freedom of movement
• Enforced disappearances, including in the form of abductions of nationals of other States
In Response

by: Ohure from: Canada
April 01, 2014 12:14 AM
If the Government of South Sudan is adamant and intransigent, their missions abroad should not be accorded diplomatic status. Better still they need to be booted from the world body.
In Response

by: Malong Muorwel from: Melbourne, Australia
March 31, 2014 11:58 PM
I don't understand what the Western Diplomats where referring to in their recent communiqué in Juba ...If they mean that the legitimate and democratically elected government should not monitor and check all the UN relief and other related materials that at times contain and comprise of things out of their mandate, such as the recent interception of weapons at Rumbek, then that sound to me to be like silencing of the government against such practices...Since the government does not in essence targets the UN mandate so far..But merely monitor in order to make sure any other unwarranted extra-behaviours are not been conducted...
I would also wonder who is the custodian of the sovereignty in Republic of South Sudan currently with such communiqués..
In Response

by: Wegmor from: Kenya
March 31, 2014 9:13 PM
Of course the U.N. is not supplying the rebels with weapons. The whole world knows that there was no coup. It was just a gimmick to shutdown the democratic process in the country. The U.S. should know these things; they have the CIA remember. I bet you the rebels could capture enough weapons from the indisciplined Kiir army to fight this war to the bitter end. So you thought the other cannot get weapons when u started war, isn't it?
Look who is talking about the rules of war. Does Kiir's genocidal army know the rules of war. The last time I checked, it was Kiir's Gelweng private militia who started by murdering thousands of Nuer civilians including women and children Juba between 16-19th. Dec., 2013.
Kiir's genocidal regime is angry with the U.N. for protecting Nuer civilians in its compounds. The problem is now huge and intimidating the U.N. is not going to solve it.

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