Mayen urges NGOs to involve government to avoid conflicts

Mayen urges NGOs to involve government to avoid conflicts
Peter Mayen Wen Majongdit, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management (photo credit: file)

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management Peter Mayen Majongdit has blamed the non-governmental organizations for not consulting the government in their areas of operation saying it aggravates the youth protests due to unemployment.

 Mayen who spoke to the media on Tuesday claimed the NGOs and humanitarian organizations set up in South Sudan and operate without seeking directives from his ministry on the modalities of implementing certain projects in the country.

“So once they solicit funds from their donors, they go ahead and implement their projects without coming to the ministry or without the opinion of the ministry [on] which areas they should carry out activities, whether nutrition, health or any other developmental projects,” Mayen stressed.

Mayen said that the individual approach taken by the organizations creates an imbalance in the sense that some regions end up with services they do not require while those who direly need such services miss out.

The minister said some areas like in Bar-el- Gazal region have no humanitarian organization as he condemned the Pibor youth for issuing ultimatums telling NGOs to leave.

“So, it is very unique when others are asking the humanitarian partners to leave the areas while there are those who are calling for the humanitarian actors to come and deliver the services. We have to review the policies together with the NGOs forum in terms of areas of operations,” he said.

Mayen speaks at a time the country is reeling from the shocking attacks on innocent aid workers across the country.

For example, on May 21, 2021, an aid worker in Panyijiar County, Unity State, was killed in a humanitarian convoy. An ambulance was attacked also attacked in a separate incident reported on the same day just a few kilometers away from Koch.

A doctor who was working with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) was also killed inside a health facility in Ganyliel Payam, the same month.

At least two aid workers were killed in 2021 and another nine were murdered in 2020. This brings the total to 126. They are mostly South Sudanese who have been providing critical assistance to people across the country since the outbreak of conflict in 2013.

There have also been strings of attacks on humanitarian agencies in some parts of South Sudan by angry youth over unemployment particularly in Renk of Upper Nile, Bentiu, Jonglei, Pibor Administrative area, and Torit, Eastern Equatoria States.

On October 4, 2021, a letter reportedly from a youth group in Pibor was issued demanding that at least 30 humanitarian workers should leave the area within 72 hours. The youth group accused humanitarian workers from other states of occupying positions belonging to communities.

The threats prompted the concerned institutions to airlift at least 78 aid workers attached to humanitarian agencies in the Greater Pibor Administrative Area (GPAA) to Bor Town.

The Acting Humanitarian Coordinator of the United Nations in South Sudan Mathew Hollingworth condemned the latest threat by youth groups against the humanitarian organizations in Greater Pibor Administrative Area.