UNMISS corrects inaccurate claim of withdrawal from Malakal protection site
Juba, 10 November 2021: A press statement claiming that the United Nations Mission in South Sudan is “withdrawing” its security presence from the Protection of Civilians site in Malakal is incorrect and risks causing unnecessary concern among the displaced community.
The inaccurate press statement follows a discussion held in Malakal on 5 November 2021 as part of ongoing consultation about the future of the Protection of Civilians site with stakeholders, including the Governor and other local authorities, UNMISS, humanitarian partners, and representatives from the displaced community.
During the discussion, UNMISS reiterated its very clear position, in line with Security Council Resolution 2567, that the right security conditions must exist in Malakal before any transition of the POC can take place and reinforced its commitment to work with the Government to build its capability to provide protection for vulnerable communities. UNMSS will also continue to fulfil its mandate to protect civilians in Malakal as in other locations across the country.
No announcement was made about a decision to “withdraw” from the Malakal POC and it is unfortunate that this erroneous claim has been reported by media as fact.
Note to Editors:
Protection of Civilians sites were established by the UN to provide sanctuary to vulnerable civilians facing an imminent threat of physical violence during intense conflict. There is no doubt many lives were saved as a result of this action. However, the POCs were a last resort, not a long-term solution.
The peace agreement and continuing ceasefire has resulted in a significant reduction of political violence and, as a result, many displaced people have returned to their homes while those remaining in the UN protection sites are moving freely in and out of the camps to go to school, health centers, markets and to work.
As a result, UNMISS and humanitarian partners carried out security assessments at individual POCs and, as the situation permitted, particular sites were redesignated as conventional displacement camps under the responsibility of the Government, including Juba, Wau, Bor and Bentiu. The transition process was conducted after extensive consultation with displaced communities, humanitarian agencies, local and national authorities, and security forces.
In each of these locations, UNMISS continues to provide protection as needed, with military and police on-hand to closely monitor and rapidly respond to any physical threats that may emerge. UN Police are also providing extensive technical assistance, mentoring, and co-locating with local police services to build their capacity.
UNMISS has been clear throughout the process that the transition of Malakal would take more time due to the complex political and security situation in that location. That remains the case today.