UN on Thursday condemned threats against aid workers in South Sudan which it said may jeopardise humanitarian operations in the country.
Acting UN Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan, Mahimbo Mdoe, condemned recent threat letters issued against aid workers in no less than three locations in South Sudan: Bor in Jonglei, Torit in Eastern Equatoria and Mankien in Unity.
“It is absolutely unacceptable that aid workers, who place themselves at risk each day to help others, are being subjected to discrimination, threats and violence,’’ Mdoe said in a statement issued in Juba.
He said aid workers are working tirelessly across South Sudan with the sole aim of saving lives and alleviating the suffering of civilians caught-up in conflict and desperate circumstances.
Mdoe called on all authorities to ensure the safety and security of humanitarians in the areas they control across the country and to work to prevent future threats against them.
“I am grateful for the steps already taken by authorities in Bor, Torit and Mankien to address the recent threats against aid workers in these areas,’’ Mdoe said.
He said humanitarians must be able to reach people in need throughout South Sudan, regardless of their place of origin, ethnicity, tribe or any other characteristic.
“I call on all those with influence to reiterate their respect for aid workers, and to take swift action to prevent threats such as these arising in the future,’’ he said.
South Sudan has been embroiled in over three years of conflict that has taken a devastating toll on the people.
According to the UN, South Sudan has become a hostile environment for aid workers to operate.
In March, gunmen killed six aid workers on a road linking Juba to the eastern state of Boma.