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.
    x
    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.
    x
    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.

    You May Like

    US, Allies Discuss Next Steps in Islamic State Fight

    Meeting comes a day after US Navy SEAL was killed while fighting Islamic State forces in northern Iraq

    In China, Traditional Banks Fight Challenge From Internet Firms

    Internet companies lent more than $150 billion to customers in 2015, which is an extremely small amount compared to the much larger lending by commercial banks last year

    Trump Faces Tough Presidential Odds Against Clinton

    Numerous national election surveys show former secretary of state defeating presumptive Republican nominee with tough talk to halt illegal immigration and temporarily block Muslims from entering country

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    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.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limitedi
    X
    Katie Arnold
    May 04, 2016 12:31 PM
    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora