Take greater responsibility for your people, U.N. refugee chief tells South Sudan

Mon Jun 19, 2017 8:25am GMT
 

By David Lewis

JUBA (Reuters) - The United Nations called on South Sudan's leaders to take more responsibility for stemming the world's fastest growing refugee crisis, as it said the number of people displaced worldwide had risen to a record 65.6 million.

The head of the U.N.'s UNHCR refugee agency, Filippo Grandi, said world powers had to step up pressure on South Sudan's warring parties to go back to talks on ending a civil war that has forced about a third of the population to flee.

In South Sudan to launch the UNHCR's annual refugee report, Grandi said his agency had already worked there for decades, helping hundreds of thousands fleeing the territory's long wars with Khartoum.

UNHCR was still there, helping many of the same people now fleeing an internal conflict, he told local government officials in the northern town of Bentiu.

"Now, the authorities have a greater responsibility because they are in charge of this country and it is under their leadership that we must seek security," Grandi said. "We are here to help but, in the end, as you know, the responsibility is with you and your colleagues in Juba and here."

South Sudan's civil war erupted out of political infighting in late 2013, just two years after South Sudan declared independence from Sudan and took over running its own affairs.

Since then, nearly 2 million people have fled fighting that the United Nations has said amounts in some areas to ethnic cleansing. There has been a string of failed cease-fires and peace accords.

  Continued...

UNHCR High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi meets displaced civilians moving to a new camp in Bentiu, South Sudan June 18, 2017. REUTERS/David Lewis
 
Powered by Reuters AlertNet. AlertNet provides news, images and insight from the world's disasters and conflicts and is brought to you by Reuters Foundation.