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UNMISS Weekly Press Briefing Transcript - 23 March 2016

By United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS)
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Near verbatim transcript

Good morning ladies and gentlemen of the media, and welcome to the United Nations weekly press briefing broadcast live on UN radio Miraya from UN House, in Juba. Also a warm welcome to our radio listeners who have tuned in.

The focus of this week's briefing follows on from World Water Day, observed internationally and officially commemorated yesterday March 22 under the theme “Water and Jobs.” The day typically draws attention on the importance of freshwater and advocates for the sustainable management of freshwater resources globally. To talk more about some of the issues and challenges on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in South Sudan, I am joined by guest speakers from the various UN agencies working on funds and programmes:

UNEP - United Nations Environment Programme: Martin Dramani, National Programme Coordinator UNICEF - United Nations Children's Emergency Fund: Lillian Okwirry, Chief of WASH IOM - International Organisation for Migration: Antonio Torres Ortiz, WASH Programme Manager and Ashley McLaughlin, Media and Communications Officer

However, before I go onto introducing our guests, let me give you a quick overview of what UNMISS has been up to in the last week. Now a quick wrap up of some activities UNMISS has been engaged in over the past week:

In Lakes, our military Chinese Engineering Contingent in Rumbek, last week completed road repairs to the Mvolo to Tonj road. An estimated 100km of this road has been rehabilitated by UNMISS which is critical for movement of heavy trucks carrying crucial UNMISS and Humanitarian supplies from Juba to Wau; In Lakes, UNMISS funded and participated in a government-led peace conference between the Dinka Agar sub-clans of Ruop, Pakam and Kuei. Also in Lakes, UNMISS supported a peer-counseling workshop for 15 church leaders in Rumbek, organized by the Dynamic Peer Counselor Group, affiliated to Diocese of Rumbek; In Bor, the mission facilitated a one-day forum to identify gender-based issues of conflict and suggest solutions. Sessions on dialogue and mediation skills were also conducted. Thirty-five women drawn from different locations in Bor with representatives of Duk and Twic East counties attended the forum. Also in Bor UNMISS conducted a two-day awareness programme on human rights and child protection issues. The training focused on ending the recruitment of children into the armed forces, exploitation of children, sexual violence, and human rights; In Unity, UNMISS conducted a two-day workshop in Thonyor, targeting local authorities, civil society organizations, and community leaders with a view to development of a holistic approach to protection of civilians in the area; On protection of civilians' UNMISS force continues with executing the mission's mandate, and reaches out to the local communities through daily patrols which are conducted across the country. And this week the mission has carried out approximately 1,800 combined long duration and short duration patrols all over the country;

Turning to the Protection of Civilians' sites:

Malakal - Currently UNMISS is providing protection to 40,448 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the PoC site. As a result of last month's incidents, some 30,000 IDPs moved to an area closer to UNMISS premises at the log base, while some 10,000 remained in the PoC site. In addition we have 5,000 IDPs who left the PoC for the town following the incidents of Feb. 17/18, and these are receiving support from humanitarian partners, with assistance from UNMISS; Progress has been made in recovering the site and meeting IDPs' needs. The Mission and humanitarian partners are coordinating on site rehabilitation and living conditions for the IDPs such as clearing debris, assessing shelter capability and space allocation and relocation of the IDPs to the PoC site is expected to commence soon; In Juba — On Saturday, at approximately 11:30am a fight broke out between individuals of two different internally displaced communities in the market area within the Juba PoC 1. The mission immediately put in place measures, including deploying additional security elements to affected areas within the PoC site, and along the perimeters of the UN House compound. And by the afternoon the situation returned to normal; Regrettably, as a result of the disputes, one IDP died from their wounds following the morning altercations; Since the weekend the IDP camp leadership have met to discuss strategies for interventions in addressing such situations in the future. And to work alongside the already establish Community Watch Group within the PoC, camp leaders have established Emergency Response Teams who's responsibility will be to provide early warning and refer unresolved matters to the council of elders, who will look to address the issues using traditional mechanisms; The Mission continues reinforcing its cooperation, sharing of information and efforts with the IDP leadership in order to mitigate any further possible incidents.

We also have a Statement issued last week by the Security Council expressing alarm at the situation in the country deep concern with the ongoing violence in South Sudan. Copies of the statement have been made available to you in the information packets.