May 18, 2021 (JUBA) – South Sudan NGO Forum has “strongly” condemned what it described as “unacceptable” attacks on national and international aid workers and the forceful entry into their compounds by unauthorized youth groups in various parts of the country.
Such cases were recently reported in Renk, Jamjang and Torit areas.
“We condemn this unacceptable behaviour, which seeks to interfere with NGOs’ recruitment processes and outcomes. Such acts cause physical harm to NGO workers, vandalize humanitarian assets and disrupt the work of humanitarians,” the forum said in a statement.
“The NGO Forum does not condone harassment, threats and violence against NGO assets and personnel delivering assistance to communities,” it added.
According to the forum, NGOs strive to do fair and impartial recruitment that strictly adheres to South Sudan Labour Law 2017 and follow the National Ministry of Labour’s NGO Recruitment Guidelines 2019, which says lower-level workers such as cleaners, drivers, guards and cooks be selected from local communities.
Also, the country’s Labour Law forbids NGOs from discriminating against any South Sudanese if they fit the requirements of a particular profession or technical job.
“As long as the safety and security of NGO staff are not guaranteed, NGOs and UN agencies in all affected areas will limit movements and will restrict operations to only life-saving interventions,” it noted.
The forum called for tangible and sustained proactive measures to ensure the safety of humanitarian staff and assets across the country.
“Violence against NGOs is a recurring issue. The NGO Forum calls for the Government to not only react to acts of violence, but to prevent them,” said Pius Ojara, the Director South Sudan NGO Forum.
The NGO body further urged government all levels to take on their responsibilities of supporting humanitarian agencies by providing protection to aid workers and their assets and ensuring and enabling environment prevails for safe delivery of essential services in communities.
According to the United Nations, a total of 124 aid workers, most of them South Sudanese nationals, have been killed in South Sudan since the country’s conflict erupted in December 2013.