As a ceasefire takes shape in Juba, international agencies have called for the deployment of an intervention brigade, sanctions and deployment of extra forces by neighbouring countries to restore order.
After an emergency meeting held in Nairobi on Monday, the Intergovernmental Agency on Development (IGAD), under the chairmanship of Ethiopia foreign affairs minister, Dr Tedros Adhanom, recommended the establishment of an intervention brigade within United Nations Mission in South Sudan.
The creation of the brigade will empower UMISS with a mandate to fight and quell hostile groups as opposed to only being a peace keeping force.
However, the UN Security Council will have to first pass a resolution permitting creation of the brigade which will involve deployment of additional troops from the East African Standby force.
Fighting that has lasted for five days in Juba, claimed lives of two Chinese peacekeepers and one UNMISS staff after an attack on its compound on Sunday and Monday.
In a statement, the IGAD council of ministers’ meeting attended by Uganda’s Foreign Affairs minister Sam Kutesa, also condemned violence targeting the UN compound in Juba and attempts to prevent civilian populations from getting protection.
Yesterday, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) called for the opening of South Sudan borders to permit safe passage for all persons escaping from violence.
“We urge neighbouring countries to keep borders open to people seeking asylum,” a statement released by UNHCR yesterday indicated.
According to the UN agency, the violence between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and First Vice-President Riek Machar, has displaced over 36,000 people.
“Inside South Sudan, some 7,000 internally displaced people have sought shelter in the UN’s bases in Juba. Providing them with food, shelter, water, hygiene and sanitation facilities will remain a critical challenge so long as the security situation remains bad,” the statement added.
Amnesty International also issued seven recommendations for the African Union Summit which is currently underway in Kigali, Rwanda.
Key among the recommendations is the request to ensure observation of human rights protection and commitment to fight impunity by holding perpetrators of crimes accountable under international law.
Mr Netsanet Belay, the Africa Director, Research and Advocacy, Amnesty International on Tuesday, said: “The latest horrific bloodshed in South Sudan demonstrates the urgent need for African leaders gathering in Kigali to take steps not only to resolve such conflicts but also to tackle their root causes.”
He also said the summit provides an opportunity for the AU to urge states to commit in creating an environment conducive for civil society and human rights defenders to freely carry out their work.
He said conflict and instability in Africa is linked to failures to address gross human rights violations, and which allow a cycle of impunity to continue.
“The African Union must show this week that it has the determination to confront these and other pressing issues head-on,” Mr Belay added.
Meanwhile, the Minister for Trade, Ms Amelia Kyambadde, yesterday hinted that it was not easily possible to know the number of Ugandans trapped in Juba since most of those who travel to South Sudan do not register at the embassy.
‘‘Ugandans just leave the country and don’t bother to register their presence with the embassy,’’ she said.
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