South Sudan accused of threatening aid groups

From NEWVISION, OCT/25/2014, SSN;

International charities working to stem chronic disease and hunger in war-torn South Sudan are facing increased harassment, surveillance and threats of expulsion from the government, according to a charity Friday.

A letter to over 100 international aid agencies from South Sudan’s NGO Forum detailed the “increasing trend of harassment and interference targeting NGOs” that is “marked by increased hostility and threats from officials”.

Incidents include the detention and expulsion this month of one foreign worker as “escalating rhetoric and the overall hostile tone toward [the] international community” rises, the letter said.

It also detailed concerns over the alleged “increased surveillance of NGO communications”.

Last month South Sudan’s Ministry of Labour ordered all international aid workers out of the country before another ministry rescinded it.

South Sudan, one of the world’s poorest countries, became independent in 2011 after decades of battling hardliners in neighbouring Sudan, which also had a long history of cracking down on aid groups.

Now 10 months into its own civil war, the world’s newest country is blighted by what UN officials call “a man-made crisis” that has caused widespread hunger, left 1.4 million people homeless and a third of the population needing help.

But the NGO Forum said government officials “have adopted a hostile and almost irrational approach toward NGOs” that includes trying to ban the use of the words famine, disaster and catastrophe.

The UN’s World Food Programme is still trying to trace South Sudanese staffer Mark Diang, who was abducted at gunpoint last week by plain clothes men from an airport in the north of the country.

In a meeting with officials this week, international representatives were “threatened and intimidated personally and organisationally”, leaving them “increasingly vulnerable”, the letter said.

British charity Oxfam, which authored a report predicting famine in parts of the country, was reportedly “directly in the line of fire” at the meeting, but the government also “threatened” the 36 charities that signed the report and demanded an official apology and retraction.

A spokesman for the South Sudan government could not be reached for comment.

7 Comments

  1. LONG says:

    Two issue come into play;

    Firstly we must know that Aid is not really aid, MOST of this INGOs are CIA, FBI and other agencies doctored, they need to penetrate to all states, angles and corners to be able to gather the needed reports for their Government.
    Secondly, these guys live lavish lives, much more than the corporate guys do, though some of them are merely freshers from college with little experience
    The UN and these agencies connive to ensure that we are kept in dare need for help to justifying their stay.

    Some people think there is no corruption in UN, no there is sophisticate corruption there, funding is given to who knows who in the system and where individual INGO originate. Americans fund American NGO, Europeans fund their own, down to specific nations. Result is often not the issue, its sharing the pie that matter.

    On the other hand, our government had failed so miserably in countering these devils and they will continue to fail unless they change the game plan from open isolated voices approach to collective rational encounters.
    Why is Parliament delaying the NGO act?

    These agencies should be restricted to limited number of international staff- hike work permit cost, limit time for work permits. They big INGO should be restricted to funding and mentoring National NGO, these NNGO must also be monitored.

  2. AGUMUT says:

    Started from John Garang when did our leaders take care of people.All of them like foreigners because of corruption and play our people by walking from house to house.

  3. AGUMUT says:

    Kiir should tell that to Riek Machar.Why you Hacked powerless people if you take care!

  4. AGUMUT says:

    SPLM cronies do what they want,most elites are going to run away. They will suffer in exile with no positions and no work because their records are no good.

  5. galdino. sebit says:

    International relations when carefully maintained, it cements our foreign policy abroad and gives us a strong negotiating power, when it reaches the doorsteps of IMF, The World bank and major international donors,at the time of need and emergency. South Sudan is not an island to cater for its needs. It is a member of nations, particularly at a time we needed them most, during our decades of liberation struggle. After all these Non-governmental organizations come with resources to help our devastated civil population, at the verge of death.

    • Charles says:

      Dear Sebit

      This is exactly the point. It is the failure of our governments that allows us to be taken care of by these NGOs. I am living in a developing country, but with a system and leadership that use every iota of its resources to deliver vital services to its people. As a result there are hardly any NGOs in the country. If our government were to provide the service these NGOs are providing, we would not need most of them. The second point we need to know is that there is no such thing as a free lunch. When those governments offer those aids they do expect something in return. And besides, the NGOs are also used to provide jobs for their citizens. Hence you find that a Frence NGO will have a sizeable number of French nationals in its workforce. After all it is their taxpayers’ money. So, while we are concerned about those young aidworkers barely out of school working with the NGOs, we should ask ourselves if we are the ones paying their salaries. What the government should do is to reach an understanding with those NGOs to provide meaningful jobs to its citizens instead of ordering them. In addition, they can tighten up work visas and up the visa fees for certain job categories to discourage foreigners being employed all the time. But to impose unnecessary conditions on the very organizations that is keeping your citizens from hunger and providing them health care and water that you have failed to provide, is biting the hand that is feeding you.

  6. simba says:

    The SPLM is engaging in a policy of civil annihilation. How did these irresponsible thugs calling themselves SPLM/A became the leaders of this country? What merits do they have?…killing and starving their own citizens is hardly a merit. Their place is the ICC and after that they should burn in hell.

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