Ottawa - Extreme violence and other human rights abuses in South Sudan must cease immediately as direct mediation talks between leaders of conflicting parties begin in Ethiopia, Oxfam has said.
Since violence broke out on 15 December 2013, over a thousand civilians have been killed and almost 200,000 have fled their homes to the bush or United Nations bases. They are living in increasingly dire conditions, as the ongoing conflict makes it difficult to provide humanitarian support to those in need.
Oxfam has been working in the region for 30 years and is collaborating with the UN and other agencies to get food, clean water and sanitation facilities to those most in need.
The aid agency is deeply concerned about the growing humanitarian crisis, including in the Awerial refugee camp on the banks of the Nile which is now home to 75,000 people and where it has deployed a rapid response team to urgently support in the delivery of clean water, construction of latrines and public health work.
Ann Witteveen, Humanitarian Manager for Oxfam Canada said: “Canada strongly supported South Sudan as they became an independent country, and this support is needed now more than ever. Already living in extreme poverty, thousands of families have been displaced from their homes and no longer have what they need to survive. Oxfam is providing emergency access to food, water and sanitary living conditions to those most affected by the violence. However, meeting families' basic needs will become more difficult as the violence continues".
Witteveen added that: “All parties in negotiations taking place in Addis Ababa have a duty to end this conflict swiftly, and peacefully. Protection of human rights and safe access for humanitarian actors to ensure life-saving aid can reach those who need it the most should be a core priority".
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Interviews or more information:
Desire Assogbavi, Head of Oxfam’s African Union Liaison Office is available for interviews.