UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has said that South Sudan leaders have betrayed their people. He said this while addressing the UN General Assembly meeting in New York.
“Indeed, in too many places, we see leaders rewriting constitutions, manipulating elections and taking other desperate steps to cling to power,” he said. “Leaders must understand that holding office is a trust, granted by the people, not personal property.”
The UN SG urged leaders to serve their people and not to subvert democracy, pilfer their country’s resources or imprison and torture their critics.
He said this at a time when South Sudan’s political and military leaders have recently been implicated of involvement in looting the country’s resources, and have been accused of suppressing dissent from media and civil society. Last week also saw the closing down of the Nation Mirror newspaper by state security agents.
South Sudan has not had peace since it attained independence in 2011. In 2013, war broke out between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar. A peace pact was signed last year in August in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, but this too did not hold. In July this year, violence broke out again in Juba, after an exchange of fire between forces loyal to the two leaders.
The SG said the New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants points the way toward saving lives and protecting the rights of millions of refugees, and added that all world leaders must meet those promises.
“All too often, refugees and migrants face hatred…I say to political leaders and candidates: do not engage in the cynical and dangerous political math that says you add votes by dividing people and multiplying fear. The world must stand up against lies and distortions of truth, and reject all forms of discrimination,” he said in a statement.
The New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants expresses the political will of world leaders to save lives, protect rights and share responsibility on a global scale. Refugees, migrants, those who assist them, and their host countries and communities will all benefit if these commitments are met.
South Sudan is one of the countries with a large number of refugees scattered all over the world. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees says that about 60,000 people have fled South Sudan since fighting broke out in July. The fighting has also led to the deaths of hundreds of civilians and more than 217 documented incidents of sexual and gender based violence, including rape and gang rapes of minors and women.
Ban Ki-Moon said that with the Sustainable Development Goals, the world had a manifesto for a better future, adding that the Paris Agreement on climate change will help tackle the challenge of climate change.
The overall objective of the Paris Agreement is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century, well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees.