Humanitarians still face grave challenges to reach needy -OCHA

Aid agencies in South Sudan today marked World Humanitarian Day with a call for greater protection for humanitarian workers.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) for an end to attacks against humanitarian workers.

It stated that across the country, humanitarian workers, and overwhelmingly national humanitarian workers, are affected by the impact of armed violence, bureaucratic impediments, and targeted violence.

At least 130 humanitarian workers, mostly South Sudanese, have been killed on duty since war broke out in 2013. Five humanitarian workers were killed in the line of duty in South Sudan since the beginning of 2022, UN OCHA said.

The latest incident happened on August 9 when two aid workers were killed by gunmen in an ambush along Tseretenya-Ikwoto road. The victims were employees of Caritas Luxemburg working in Eastern Equatoria state.

“Since 2013, we have had 134 death of humanitarian workers in South Sudan. Most of them are South Sudanese fathers and men who left behind widows and children,” said Sara Beysolow Nyanti, Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan.

The Human Rights Watch says attacks against unarmed people and aid workers are utterly reprehensible, violate international law and may constitute war crimes.

“They impede humanitarian work and threaten the lives of thousands of South Sudanese who rely on humanitarian assistance.”