News release

ICRC Statement to the United Nations General Assembly on humanitarian situation in South Sudan

(New York) – In an address to world leaders at a high-level side event of the UN General Assembly, ICRC President Peter Maurer called for an end to impunity for attacks against civilians and humanitarian workers in South Sudan.

"The humanitarian situation in South Sudan today is rapidly deteriorating, spiralling further and further out of control. The numbers of people affected run into the millions and comprise a significant proportion of the country's population," Mr. Maurer said. "The impact of the conflict has gone far beyond the frontlines of war: sparking food shortages, an economic crisis and causing a massive displacement of people."

The numbers associated with South Sudan's violence reveal the level of brutality being carried out against civilians. Of the country's population of 12 million, one in three residents has been displaced, while one in two is severely hungry and in need of food assistance. Nearly 2 million people have fled across South Sudan's borders, and 2 million more are internally displaced.

"Ongoing violence is causing massive displacement, uprooting almost a third of the population. Some flee in fear and others are forced, in contravention of international humanitarian law," Mr Maurer added. "Even in places where frontline fighting has subsided, there remains a general climate of fear and intimidation for those left behind. Targeted attacks continue, fuelling insecurity and making a normal life all but impossible."

Peter Maurer addressed the tragic loss of ICRC colleagues in Afghanistan and South Sudan and expressed the need for respect for international humanitarian law.

"We also call on armed forces to end impunity for attacks against civilians and humanitarian workers: to ensure respect for IHL, especially the principle of distinction between civilians and combatants; to spare women, children, the elderly and disabled from any type of violence, including sexual violence; and to protect medical facilities, the wounded, the sick as well as health care personnel.

"We call on regional actors, as well as influential political and traditional leaders to do their part in engaging with all the parties to the conflict on the importance of compliance with International Humanitarian Law."
ICRC is gravely concerned about the humanitarian situation which is rapidly deteriorating and is having a widespread impact across the country.

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For further information, please contact:
Diana Santana, ICRC New York, tel: +1 917-455-9035