In response to the statement by the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan, Mr. Toby Lanzer, regarding violations of International Humanitarian Law in Leer and Malakal, Oxfam South Sudan Country Director Zlatko Gegic said:
“We are alarmed and deeply concerned by reports of eyewitness accounts of targeted rape and killing of civilians, including children. The deliberate targeting of civilians and the destruction of homes and hospitals is in clear contravention of international law.
“The escalating violence has forced us to evacuate aid workers from Malakal and Nyal, which means thousands of civilians will no longer be able to access much needed assistance.
“We are particularly concerned about deteriorating food security. The ongoing war is exacerbating what is already a precarious food situation – people are being forced from their homes by conflict and as the rains begin many will be further cut off from life-saving assistance. Ongoing fighting is preventing people from planting food crops and disrupting their livelihoods.
“The majority of those affected by severe hunger are in conflict-affected and hard to reach areas and it will be even harder for them to access life-saving assistance with the coming rains. We are already seeing alarming rates of malnutrition and hunger, with food experts predicting more than 3.5 million people to be severely hungry by the end of June.
“The war is causing immense suffering for the people of South Sudan. We are appealing to the warring parties to stop fighting and urgently agree to a lasting peace to end this crisis and save thousands of lives. The people of South Sudan have already suffered far too much,” Mr Gegic said.
Notes to editors:
Oxfam has a dedicated team working across South Sudan to rebuild livelihoods, provide humanitarian assistance and promote active citizenship. We focus on providing clean water, public health and livelihoods support, and work with partners on peace building and governance issues. We are currently supporting over 570,000 people in South Sudan with humanitarian assistance and over 350,000 with long term development and support.