UNHCR requires US$19 million for aid operations in Mauritania
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Country: Central African Republic, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, Syrian Arab Republic
The arrival of more than 4,500 Malians in Mauritania has led to an urgent need for shelters and latrines, as many of the four-year-old infrastructures in Mbera camp need to be replaced.
Voluntary returns to Mali facilitated in 2016
New arrivals from Mali in 2016
Malian refugees with specific needs (as of 1 January 2017)
Malian households in Mbera camp (as of 1 January 2017)
of potable water available per person per day
USD 19 M
Requested for the operation
Maintain protection and assistance for all Malian refugees in Mbera camp.
Strengthen support to refugees’ self-reliance.
Maintain peaceful coexistence between the refugees and host communities.
Since end of September 2016, more than 4,500 people crossed the Mali-Mauritania border to seek refuge in Mbera camp; influx continues in January at a slower pace. It is the largest influx of Malian refugees observed in Mauritania since 2013. New arrivals are assisted with emergency food, shelter and basic items.
There is an urgent need for shelters and latrines – 50% of latrines in Mbera camp have reached their maximum storage capacity. This is particularly crucial considering the unstable situation in northern Mali, with unlikely massive return and recent waves of arrivals to the camp.
UPDATE ON ACHIEVEMENTS
In collaboration with the Mauritanian Government which has kept its borders open to new influxes, UNHCR with UN organizations and national and international NGOs, continues to lead the humanitarian response for 46,640 Malian refugees and any new arrivals in Mbera camp. In addition, the organization ensures the protection and assistance of 1,518 urban refugees and 426 asylum seekers, mainly from the Central African Republic, Syria and Côte d’Ivoire.
UNHCR works closely with Mauritanian authorities to enhance the protection environment for refugees and asylum seekers in Mauritania, notably through the development and implementation of a national asylum law. Pending the adoption of a national refugee legislation, UNHCR advocates for further integration of refugees by improving access to basic services, such as health, economic opportunities but also to documentation and birth registration.
The majority of Malian refugees living in Mbera camp arrived in 2012: violent clashes in north Mali triggered important waves of displacements into Mauritania, where a refugee camp was established 50 Km from the Malian border in the Hodh ech Charghi region. Following the military intervention in northern Mali in January 2013, new influxes of Malian refugees were accommodated in Mbera camp.
On 16 June 2016, Mauritania, Mali and UNHCR signed a Tripartite Agreement to facilitate the voluntary repatriation of Malian refugees. The tripartite agreement reiterates the voluntary nature of repatriation and reconfirms the commitments of the Mauritanian and Malian states to protect refugees. However, despite the signing of a peace agreement in Mali in June 2015 and the voluntary return of more than 1,800 refugees from Mbera camp in 2016, the security conditions in northern Mali remain volatile. Large-scale returns of refugees are therefore not yet envisaged and UNHCR and its partners maintain their presence in Bassikounou to sustain the humanitarian response in Mbera Camp.
Over two million Yemenis displaced by conflict - IOM
Source: International Organization for Migration
As the humanitarian crisis further deteriorates by an additional stream of Horn of African migrants, IOM provides health care and non-food items to help families cope with winter weather.
Yemen - The humanitarian crisis in Yemen caused by the ongoing conflict over the past 22 months has led to the internal displacement of over 2.1 million Yemenis. It is also complicating an already difficult situation for thousands of migrants from the Horn of Africa attempting to cross the country on the way to Saudi Arabia.
A high-ranking delegation from IOM earlier this month visited Sana’a, Yemen to assess and support IOM Yemen’s efforts to aid displaced Yemenis and migrants in the country.
Carmela Godeau, IOM’s Regional Director for Middle East and North Africa based in Cairo, and Mohammed Abdiker, Director of IOM’s Department of Operations and Emergencies, visited a settlement of displaced Yemenis in Sana’a and met local partners working with IOM to provide health care and non-food items to help displaced families cope with winter weather.
The delegation also visited one of the 31 Child Friendly Spaces that IOM has opened in Yemen. These provide direct assistance to displaced children. They aim to ease the stress and effects of the conflict on children, in addition to providing awareness-raising sessions and psychosocial support for traumatized children.
Other visits allowed the IOM delegation to see the work of an IOM health clinic, which provides primary health care to displaced Yemenis and migrants, including psychosocial support to those suffering from displacement and war traumas.
Meetings were organized with the IOM staff from Sana’a, Al Hudaydah and Aden, to further discuss the ongoing IOM work in 18 Yemeni governorates. Consultations also took place with UN partner agencies including UNOCHA, UNHCR, UNDP and UNICEF, NGOs and the local authorities in Sana’a.
“It is of utmost importance for IOM to understand the prevailing situation in the country, to help IOM at the global level to advocate for more assistance to the people suffering in Yemen,” said Godeau. “This visit is timely, as it comes before the official launching of the UN Humanitarian Response Plan, which will be launched on 8 February 2017 in Geneva.”
The meetings in Sana’a led to a broader understanding of the situation on the ground, which in turn will facilitate preparations of IOM’s action plan for 2017. The visit to Sana’a was followed by a visit to Riyadh, where IOM Yemen Chief of Mission Laurent de Boeck briefed the officials and the donor community on activities carried out by IOM in Yemen.
He particularly focused on the health situation of both displaced Yemenis and migrants from the Horn of Africa. IOM mobile health teams are operating in 18 of 22 governorates to deliver primary health care and provide referrals. IOM is particularly concerned by the increasing number of migrants arriving in Yemen – up to 12,000 every month – and is calling for support to provide food, shelter and protection and evacuate the most vulnerable.
For further information please contact Saba Malme at IOM Yemen, Tel: + 967 736 800 329, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
FEWS NET issues famine warning for Somalia
Source: Famine Early Warning System Network, Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit
In a worst-case scenario where the 2017 Gu season performs very poorly, purchasing power declines to levels seen in 2010/11, and aid is unable to reach populations in need, Famine (IPC Phase 5) would be expected.
Severe drought, rising prices, continued access limitations, and dry forecasts suggest Famine is
possible in 2017
Following a poor April to June 2016 Gu season and failed October to December 2016 Deyr season, food security has deteriorated significantly across Somalia, with an increasing number of people facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) acute food insecurity, and in need of emergency food assistance. Areas of greatest concern include southern agricultural and agropastoral areas and northeastern pastoral areas. Food security is expected to further deteriorate over the coming months with improvements not expected until May/June in pastoral areas and June/July in agropastoral areas, at the earliest. If the 2017 Gu season is also poor, as currently forecast, the severity and magnitude of food insecurity will be even larger than currently anticipated. In a worst-case scenario where the 2017 Gu season performs very poorly, purchasing power declines to levels seen in 2010/11, and humanitarian assistance is unable to reach populations in need, Famine (IPC Phase 5) would be expected.
The October to December 2016 Deyr season performed poorly across Somalia, with large areas of the country receiving less than 40 percent of usual rainfall (Figure 1). This failed season follows below-average April to June rainfall which resulted in poor pasture conditions and Gu-season harvests in the south that were 20 percent below the recent five-year average and 50 percent below the 1995-2015 average. In Bay Region, 2016 was the driest calendar year since 2001. In Bari Region, 2016 was the driest calendar year since 1985. The level of the Shabelle River is nearly 60 percent below average for this time of year, limiting access to water for livestock and crop production.
In pastoral livelihood zones, pasture and water resources are very limited, especially in central and northeastern areas. This is leading to atypical livestock migration and livestock deaths. Large-scale water trucking is also ongoing in these regions, forcing many households to redirect limited income to buy water for themselves and their livestock. In agricultural and agropastoral areas, harvest prospects are poor in both surplus producing areas (i.e. Middle/Lower Shabelle and Bay Regions), and in more marginal cropping areas of the south (e.g., Hiran, Bakool, Middle Juba, and Gedo Regions). Overall, January Deyr harvests are likely to be 60-70 percent below the five-year average and among the lowest on record.
The effects of two consecutive seasons of below-average production have started to put upward pressure on staple cereal prices. The price of maize in Qorioley (Lower Shabelle Region) is now 51 percent above the five-year average, and the price of sorghum in Baidoa (Bay Region) is 88 percent above average. Prices for these commodities are likely to increase further over the coming six months, possibly reaching levels similar to those seen in 2011 (Figure 2). Conversely, livestock prices and casual labor wage levels are both decreasing due to poor livestock conditions and limited agricultural labor opportunities. As a result, household purchasing power is falling and many poor households are facing increasing difficulty accessing sufficient food to meet their basic needs. In Baidoa, for example, wages from one day of labor purchased 10 kilograms of red sorghum in December, down from 12 kilograms the previous month and 18 kilograms in December 2015. Further deterioration in both livestock-to-cereal and wage-to-cereal terms of trade is expected.
Given the impacts of two consecutive below-average rainy seasons on crop production, pasture and water availability, and household purchasing power, the size of the food insecure population (IPC Phase 3 or higher) is likely to increase significantly from the 1.14 million people identified by FSNAU and FEWS NET as acutely food insecure between August and December 2016. The annual Post-Deyr analysis has recently completed and updated estimates of the food insecure population are expected by early February. In northern and central regions, the area of greatest concern is the Northern Inland Pastoral livelihood zone. In this livelihood zone, atypically high numbers of livestock have already died and poor households are expected to have few saleable animals during the January to March lean season, significantly limiting the income available to purchase food. Total livestock loss and pastoral destitution was reported in some parts of this livelihood zone. In the south, the Bay High-Potential Agropastoral and the Bay/Bakool Low Potential Agropastoral livelihood zones are of highest concern. Poor households in these areas had little to no harvests, typically their main source of food for consumption and income from sales. In addition, poor households have few livestock and are especially reliant on wage labor, an income source that can decline quickly during severe droughts. Distress migration out of rural areas of Bay towards IDP settlements in Baidoa and Mogadishu has already been reported.
International climate center forecasts for the 2017 April-June Gu season are inconclusive. However, a series of analyses conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) indicate that a dry 2017 Gu season is likely, though the severity of this dryness is unknown. In a worst-case scenario, where the 2017 Gu season performs very poorly, purchasing power declines to levels seen in 2010/11, and humanitarian assistance is unable to reach populations in need, Famine (IPC Phase 5) would be expected. During the 2011 Famine, excess mortality increased sharply between April and May, when a late start to the Gu followed a failed Deyr season.
Urgent action to ramp up assistance provision and ensure adequate humanitarian access is needed to address rising levels of food insecurity and mitigate the potential for large-scale loss of life.
Cash-based aid gives refugees in Turkey dignity and choice
Source: European Commission's Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
Country: Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey
The Emergency Social Safety Net is a partnership between Turkish and international actors, with €348 million in funds. Turkey hosts 3 million people who have fled war and poverty.
In September 2016, the European Union signed a ground-breaking deal to help more than 1 million of the most vulnerable refugees in Turkey. The deal will see the EU’s humanitarian aid department, working hand-in-hand with the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP), the Turkish Red Crescent (TRC) and the Government of Turkey to implement the most ambitious humanitarian aid programme in EU history. After a month of piloting the scheme in Ankara, the national launch took place in the winter of 2016.
With the harsh winter weather, life is hard for many of the poorest refugees trying to make a living in Turkey’s capital, Ankara. The bitter cold is just the latest challenge for 42-year old Dalal Issa al-Kasem. Her family lost everything when they fled Islamic State in Syria’s war, and 8 months ago her husband suffered a heart attack that left him bed-ridden. Her children pick through the garbage to find boxes and cartons to sell – the family’s only meagre income. “We have no money for warm clothes, you can’t even find sugar or cooking oil in our house,” she says, hands plunged deeply into her pockets against the bitter chill. “I just want to be able to feed my children.”
But in an unremarkable little street on the outskirts of Ankara, Dalal is waiting to register for a programme that, if her family is accepted, could change their lives.
The Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) is a partnership between Turkish and international actors, using €348 million of EU taxpayers’ money to support the most vulnerable refugees in Turkey. The country currently hosts 3 million people who have fled war, instability and poverty. The ESSN is cash-based aid, with eligible families being given a debit card, charged with 100 Turkish lira per person (c. €28) credit monthly, to be used to purchase food, clothes and other basic needs, or pay for rent, utilities and bills.
It will give families who have almost nothing a sense of normality, dignity, and a chance to get back on their feet. All registered refugees living outside refugee camps can apply through centres run by the Turkish Ministry of Family and Social Policies. Those deemed most vulnerable or most in need will be identified for assistance. Dalal is desperately hoping she will be one of those. “I don’t want much extra money, just enough to live. I am really happy for this EU funding, and so grateful for the support,” she says.
Turkey has in recent years done an extraordinary job hosting the world's largest refugee population. The ESSN is a sign of solidarity from the international community, and from Europe in particular, in supporting Turkish hospitality. The project, the largest in EU history, aims to change lives.
No one underestimates the daunting technical challenges, or the importance of getting things right quickly - testing new systems, and training the necessary staff. But with the needs of refugees so acute, it feels significant that registrations are being received and the project is underway, even in its early stages, according to Jane Lewis, head of office for the EU in Turkey. “The ESSN allows us to provide humanitarian assistance to hundreds of thousands of refugees living all over Turkey, efficiently, effectively while allowing those in need to restore some control over their own lives” she said.
Ethiopia seeks US$948 million to help 5.6 million people
Source: Government of Ethiopia, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
The 2017 HRD presents prioritises plans in water and sanitation, agriculture, relief food, nutrition, health, education, protection, and shelter and non-food items in the affected areas.
Ethiopia: Government and partners launch the Humanitarian Requirements Document (HRD) for 2017
US$948 million urgently needed to address food and non-food needs for 5.6 million people
((Addis Ababa, 17 January 2017): The Government of Ethiopia and humanitarian partners today
officially launched the Humanitarian Requirements Document (HRD) for 2017. The HRD seeks
US$948 million to help 5.6 million people with emergency food and non-food assistance, mainly
in the southern and eastern parts of the country.
“Last year the Government of Ethiopia, with the support of international donors and
humanitarian partners, was able to mount the biggest drought response operation in global
history. Today we need that partnership once again as we face a new drought, with 5.6 million in
need of urgent assistance”, says Commissioner Mitiku Kassa, Head of the National Disaster Risk
Management Commission (NDRMC). “The Government of Ethiopia has committed US$47.35
million as a first installment for the 2017 HRD,” added the commissioner.
Failed rains in southern and eastern parts of the country caused by the negative Indian Ocean
Dipole have left 5.6 million people in urgent need of assistance. The 2017 HRD presents
prioritized plans in water and sanitation (WaSH), agriculture, relief food, nutrition, health,
education, protection, and shelter and non-food items in the affected areas. Out of the $948
million sought for the 2017 response, $598 million is targeted for relief food, $105 million for
nutrition, and $86 million for WaSH needs.
“The needs presented in the HRD for 2017 have been established through a robust, Government-
led multiagency meher needs assessment, which took place over three weeks in November and
December 2016.” says the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa-
Onochie. Nearly 230 representatives from the Government, UN, NGOs and donors visited
affected communities across Ethiopia’s nine regions. The assessment concluded that some 5.6
million people will be in need of assistance in the course of 2017.
“Humanitarian partners stand ready to support the Government in addressing the needs of those
Ethiopians affected by this new drought. To do this we count on urgent support from the
international community to help us to again save lives and protect Ethiopia’s impressive
development gains.” Says Ms Eziakonwa-Onochie. “If well resourced, the 2017 Humanitarian
Requirements Document will ensure a well-coordinated, timely and prioritized humanitarian
For further information, please contact:
Choice Okoro, OCHA Ethiopia, email@example.com, Cell. +251-911216465, Tel.:+251-11-5-444059
Mengistu Dargie; National Public Information Officer firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: +251911742381
The 10 most under-reported humanitarian crises of 2016
Country: Bangladesh, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Madagascar, Niger, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Sudan, World
CARE's new report features food crises in Eritrea, Madagascar, DPRK and Papua New Guinea; conflicts in Burundi, Lake Chad Basin, DR Congo, CAR, Sudan and monsoon floods in Bangladesh.
Aid organisation CARE International today issued a new report highlighting the top ten most underreported humanitarian crises of 2016.
The report, Suffering in Silence, features food crises in Eritrea, Madagascar, North Korea and Papua New Guinea; conflicts in Burundi, Lake Chad Basin, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Sudan and last year’s monsoon floods in Bangladesh.
“There are many disasters around the world that rarely make it into the news,” said Philippe Guiton, CARE International’s Humanitarian and Operations Director.
“With this report CARE aims to shine the spotlight on those humanitarian crises that have been neglected or eclipsed by others grabbing the world’s attention.”
CARE International researched more than 30 natural disasters and ongoing conflicts that affected at least one million people and analysed how often they were mentioned in online news articles. More than 250,000 online news sources were monitored.
Media attention and fundraising for humanitarian causes are closely intertwined, which is often referred to as the ‘CNN effect’.
“The media has the power to set agendas, hold politicians to account and help raise crucial funds to deliver aid,” Mr Guiton said.
“At the same time, politicians must not act solely based on political interests. Politicians prefer to focus their attention on the most visible emergencies to show their constituencies they are acting. Many of the humanitarian crises in this report are not simply forgotten, they are wilfully ignored and neglected by world leaders.”
In 2017, the world faces conflicts that are raging longer and longer. Poor families have to cope with typhoons, droughts and floods that are becoming stronger and happen more frequently. The UN estimates $22.2 billion will be required to help the 92 million in urgent need of humanitarian aid in 2017.
“Most of these crises will continue to need our support beyond 2017. Every day, families across the world live in constant fear for their survival as bombs are dropping in their neighbourhood, as floods or drought destroy their fields and kill their cattle, as brutal attacks force them to leave their homes. They deserve their stories being told”, Mr Guiton said.
Donate to CARE’s Global Emergency Fund at care.org.au/emergency or call 1800 DONATE (1800 020 046)
Note to editors: Using the media monitoring services of Meltwater Group, CARE analysed those natural disasters or conflicts that received the least media attention in 2016. More than 250,000 global online sources were monitored in English, French and German. To filter according to scale, we chose countries in which at least one million people are affected by natural or man-made disasters. The result is a list of over 30 crises that we analysed and ranked by the number of articles mentioning each, starting with the one that received the fewest articles.
For more information, or to arrange an interview with Stefan Knollmayer, Humanitarian & Emergency Response Manager, please contact CARE Australia Media Advisor Nerida Williams on 0412 449 691
Severe flooding in central coastal provinces in Viet Nam focus of disaster risk preparedness
Source: UN Children's Fund
Country: Viet Nam
The El Niño-induced drought and saline intrusion emergency has adversely impacted the lives of some two million people, including 520,000 children, in the 18 most affected provinces.
520,000 # of children affected out of
2,000,000 # of people affected
600,000 # hectares of damaged crops
1,750,000 # people with lost incomes
52 (18 most affected) # provinces affected out of 64
Government-One UN Joint Emergency Response Plan 2016
UNICEF funds received:
Severe flooding in central coastal provinces, in particular Binh Dinh, Phu Yen, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai and Thua Thien-Hue, since mid-October 2016 has left 111 people dead or missing and caused economic losses of US$378 million, according to the Central Committee on Natural Disaster Prevention and Control. The UN Disaster Management Working Group, led by the UN Resident Coordinator a.i. and Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) held a meeting on 30 December to review the results of joint rapid assessments in Binh Dinh, Quang Nam and Quang Ngai provinces. UNICEF led the joint assessment in Binh Dinh, the most severely affected province. Rapid assessment teams recommended response interventions focus on the most vulnerable groups, including children and women. The United Nations, particularly UNICEF, committed to support the Government of Viet Nam (GoV) on disaster risk reduction, preparedness and building resilience.
Communities, especially in the Mekong Delta region, are now preparing for the upcoming dry season normally in the first quarter of the year, when salinity levels in surface water are expected to rise. Thus, emergency response interventions remain relevant and will inform disaster risk preparedness at policy and sub-national levels.
Drawing on initial lessons learnt from the on-going emergency response, development of the MARD-UNICEF programme on child-centred disaster risk reduction within the framework of the GoV-UNICEF Country Programme 2017-2021 is underway, building on the MARD-UNICEF joint vision paper presented at the National Conference on Child-Centred Disaster Risk Reduction in December 2016.
Temporary measures act as 'band-aid' to 60,000 refugees and migrants in Greece - NRC
Source: Norwegian Refugee Council
Country: Afghanistan, Greece, Iraq, Syrian Arab Republic, World
With only 11.5% of asylum seekers relocated, a real solution is overdue and requires solidarity among European countries to uphold the right to seek international protection, states the Norwegian Refugee Council.
The situation for what according to the Greek Government amounts to 60,000 refugees and migrants, stranded on the Greek mainland and islands, is becoming more desperate as winter hits with rare snowstorms and temperatures below zero.
Tents offer little protection and warmth. On the island of Chios women, men and children stand in freezing temperatures for hours waiting for their food. In warehouses in Thessaloniki people have had to resort to burning whatever they can get their hands on to keep warm.
The winter and sudden cold has woken the world up to the suffering on Europe’s doorstep. NRC and other humanitarian partners are constantly working to support the Government of Greece to meet the most pressing humanitarian needs. Although urgent and lifesaving, such efforts are merely a Band-Aid. These are temporary measures in hazardous living conditions. A real solution is overdue and this solution would involve solidarity among European countries and upholding the right to seek international protection.
NRC has been advocating publicly that warehouses are not habitable for humans, yet hundreds remain. As an immediate measure, NRC works to identify apartments and hotels for the most vulnerable in northern Greece.
“It has been a challenge to find apartment and hotel owners that are able and willing to rent to refugees, although we have seen some improvements over the last weeks,” said Gianmaria Pinto, NRC Country Director in Greece.
“Given the lack of alternatives, we have tried to improve the isolation of some tents, and set up common spaces that are heated, so at least the vulnerable, the children, elderly and sick have one place where they can be warm,” he said.
Hope is fading
The cold comes in addition to an already desperate situation where only a small minority of children have access to school, where youth over 15 are not even included in the official education plans, and where access to legal information about your future is missing and the sick and elderly are deprived of adequate healthcare. But worst of all: Hope is fading.
“In addition to the life threatening weather, the refugees are expressing a deep sense of depression, lack of hope, and uncertainties about what will happen to them,” said Pinto.
For many, this uncertainty is the hardest burden to carry. People have been stranded for months after Greece’s neighbouring countries closed their borders and the EU-Turkey statement of 20 March 2016. They care less about what will make them survive another day, and more about what comes next. They long for a future in sight.
“One man told me that he was thinking of killing himself. He is a grown man with children, they survived fleeing war in Syria and escaping over the Mediterranean. Having finally arrived, he now finds no reason to keep living, he has lost all hope,” said Claire Whelan, NRC Protection and Advocacy Adviser in Greece.
Relocation is slow and people keep coming
In September 2015, the European Commission proposed a scheme to relocate more than 60,000 asylum seekers from Greece to other European countries for them to have their asylum claim processed here. However, so far, only 11,5% have moved, and the relocation agreement is based on nationality and not individual protection needs. In addition, family reunification processes are very slow. Currently 2,300 children who have fled without their parents remain in Greece, and 1,443 of these children do not even have a place to live.
And people keep coming. More than 500 arrived in December alone. The majority still arrive from conflict zones in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan according to official statistics, while there are also other nationalities.
“In any case, until people have had their interviews and gone through the process, we cannot pre-judge and determine whether they are eligible for a status as refugee, or if they are economic migrants, and no matter status they should be treated humanely” said Whelan.
While people keep freezing, NRC is committed to keep providing lifesaving assistance in every way that we can. But saving the lives, hopes and futures of those stranded in Greece will require Europe to live up to its promises, and find lasting solutions.
UN rights chief highlights continuing impunity in South Sudan
Source: UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN Mission in South Sudan
Country: South Sudan
A UN report details the grave human rights violations and abuses, as well as serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in Juba during and after the fighting that occurred between 8 and 12 July 2016.
South Sudan: Continued impunity following grave human rights violations in July 2016
GENEVA/JUBA (16 January 2017) – A UN report published today details the grave human rights violations and abuses – including killings and gang rapes – as well as serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in Juba during and after the fighting that occurred between 8 and 12 July 2016. Six months after the violence there remains widespread impunity, as violations continue unabated.
The report by the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the UN Human Rights Office found that throughout the fighting between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition (SPLM/A-IO), “the belligerents blatantly ignored international human rights law and humanitarian law.”
The July 2016 events in Juba demonstrated the extremely fragile political and security situation in South Sudan and the complete disregard of civilians by the SPLA and SPLM/A-IO, given the serious human rights violations and abuses that were perpetrated, including the direct targeting of civilians, along ethnic lines and the extreme violence against women and children, the report states.
“Information documented and verified by the Human Rights Division suggests that hundreds of people including civilians were killed and many more wounded during the fighting in various areas of Juba,” the report states. “Moreover, UNMISS documented 217 victims of rape, including gang-rape committed by SPLA, SPLM/A-IO and other armed groups during and after the fighting between 8 and 25 July. According to victims’ testimonies and witnesses’ accounts, most cases of sexual violence were committed by SPLA soldiers, police officers and members of the National Security Services (NSS).”
Testimony from victims interviewed by the Human Rights Division paints a horrifying picture of the violence that civilians were subjected to during the fighting. On one occasion, women and girls were ordered to cook for the soldiers at checkpoints when their friends or family members were raped. According to other testimony, Nuer men and women appeared to have been particularly targeted for attacks, including killings and arrests, during house-to-house searches, with Nuers with tribal markings on their foreheads particularly vulnerable. The whereabouts of some of those arrested remain unknown.
“The fighting that erupted in July 2016 was a serious setback for peace in South Sudan and showed just how volatile the situation in the country is, with civilians living under the risk of mass atrocities,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said.
“In total, a staggering 1.38 million South Sudanese have fled to other countries and another 1.8 million are displaced in their own country. In the absence of any semblance of justice and accountability for the violations perpetrated – including possible war crimes – such unbridled outbursts of violence could quickly escalate civilians will continue to suffer immensely. Concrete steps to halt this downward spiral must be urgently taken, beginning with justice and accountability.”
The report emphasizes the need for accountability and justice for all human rights violations. It urges the Transitional Government of National Unity to take action to “break the cycle of violence and impunity” and take steps to fully support the prompt establishment and operationalization of the Hybrid Court for South Sudan by the African Union. The report also recommends that the State ensure that all victims of human rights violations and abuses, as well as violations of international humanitarian law, have access to an effective remedy, just and fair reparation, including compensation and rehabilitation.
The human rights situation remains grave in South Sudan. In Greater Equatoria, the UN Human Rights Office has received credible reports of serious human rights violations and abuses committed by SPLA and SPLM/A-IO in and around Yei, including killings, sexual violence, abductions and destruction of civilian property. As a result, thousands of civilians have fled Yei and surrounding towns. They have sought refuge in other regions and in neighboring countries. In early January 2017, fighting in and around Yambio in Western Equatoria resulted in a further displacement of at least 7,000 civilians, mostly women and children.
High Commissioner Zeid reminded the Government of its obligation to protect the rights of all South Sudanese and bring to an end the desperate suffering of the people.
For media enquiries, please contact:
In Geneva: Rupert Colville (+41 22 917 9767 / email@example.com) or Ravina Shamdasani (+41 22 917 9169 / firstname.lastname@example.org ) or Liz Throssell (+41 22 917 9466 / email@example.com )
In Juba: Eugene Nindorera (Tel: +211 912 062 162 - Ext. 190-2162 / firstname.lastname@example.org)
Latest humanitarian snapshot highlights Dzud in Mongolia affecting 157,000
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Country: Bangladesh, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines
Multipurpose cash grants to support life-saving basic needs, emergency agricultural inputs and veterinary first aid kits have been identified as priority needs in Mongolia.
On 13 and 14 January, WFP distributed food to 4,690 people in villages of Maungdaw north which had been mostly inaccessible since the border post attacks in the northern part of Rakhine State three months ago. For about half of those reached, it was the first time they had received assistance since 9 October. Needs in Maungdaw north include food, blankets, cooking utensils, medical kits and shelter. The harvest has been severely disrupted and children are not attending school. As a result of the attacks and subsequent security operations, thousands of people, mostly Muslims, are believed to remain displaced inside Rakhine.
Around 3,900 people have been relocated from IDP camps in Kachin State amid intense fighting between the Myanmar Military and the Kachin Independence Army. A further 4,000 people have also been temporarily displaced by continued fighting between the Myanmar Military and ethnic armed groups in northern Shan. Two civilians, including a six year old boy, were killed and eight others injured when artillery shells landed in a village in Namshan Township in northern Shan on 12 January.
As of 13 January, 116 families (753 people) remain displaced as a result of Typhoon Nock-Ten, which hit the Philippines on 25 December, and damaged over 340,000 houses. In Agusan del Norte and Surigao del Norte provinces in Mindanao, an additional 438 families (1,931 people) remain in nine evacuation centres after having been displaced by Tropical Depression 01W. Local and regional authorities have provided relief assistance to the affected families.
As of 12 January, an estimated 66,000 new arrivals from Myanmar have arrived in Cox’s Bazar since October 2016. While the number of people crossing the border has reportedly decreased compared to previous weeks, movement towards makeshifts camps, adjacent areas and city areas have increased. Water and sanitation needs are increasing in the makeshift camps. Aid agencies continue to distribute food and non-food items to the new arrivals.
66,000 new arrivals from Myanmar
Severe winter conditions continue to affect an estimated 157,000 people (37,000 herder households) across 17 out of 21 provinces in Mongolia. A drought during the summer of 2016 has depleted herders’ reserves of hay and fodder in the eastern part of the country putting at risk livestock which are a vital source of food, transport and income for thousands of people. Multipurpose cash grants to support life-saving basic needs, emergency agricultural inputs and veterinary first aid kits have been identified as priority needs. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has established a task force (from January to May) to coordinate the response to the harsh winter conditions.
157,000 people affected