Christoph Strässer, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (7 August) in response to the murder of six local people working for humanitarian agencies in Maban County, South Sudan:
The German Government condemns this brutal act, the murder of six local humanitarian aid workers, in the strongest possible terms. In the precarious situation in South Sudan, there needs to be an unconditional guarantee that civilians will be protected and humanitarian assistance made possible. The German Government calls on the Government of South Sudan to fully investigate this crime and punish the perpetrators. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to the families of the aid workers killed.
South Sudan is facing a famine brought on by the civil war that broke out in December 2013. I call on the Government of South Sudan and on the rebels to end hostilities and find a political solution for the good of the people in South Sudan without delay.
In Maban County in the South Sudanese state of Upper Nile, six local people working for humanitarian aid agencies (ACTED, AAH, Relief International, Norwegian People’s Aid) were targeted and killed by members of a militia organisation earlier this week.
Fighting broke out between rival factions of the governing party in South Sudan in December 2013. This has since grown into a civil war involving different ethnic groups. While peace talks in Addis Ababa have stalled, South Sudan is facing the threat of famine. German humanitarian aid for South Sudan is currently at 15.6 million euros for 2014; in 2013, it came to 10.3 million euros. The funds go to support German non-governmental organisations as well as UN-led international humanitarian assistance and the UN’s Common Humanitarian Fund.
The Federal Foreign Office is furthermore providing 2.1 million euros to help relief projects for South Sudanese refugees in Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya. All in all, South Sudan is one of the main focuses of Germany’s humanitarian engagement.