New York - South Sudan said on Monday that it "deeply
regrets" dozens of cases of harassment and threats against United Nations
staff by its army and police.
The government of the world's youngest country has faced
pressure from the UN Security Council and the United States over beatings of the
UN staff and other incidents in recent months.
The UN leader Ban Ki-moon complained in a report last week
of 67 cases of "harassment, threats, physical assault, arrest and
detention of United Nations staff" and seizure of UN vehicles between 7
May and 5 November.
In one case on 19 October, a female UN staff member was
"severely beaten" in the capital, Juba, and then detained following
"a traffic encounter with a military pickup carrying armed uniformed men",
said Ban's report.
Diplomats said the case involved a convoy of South Sudan's
president, Salva Kiir.
"We deeply regret both the character and the number of
incidents that have occurred," South Sudan's UN Ambassador Francis Deng
told a Security Council meeting on his country.
"The government is seriously committed to ending these
violations. Orders have indeed been given toward that end and to hold those
responsible accountable," Deng said, adding that the country's young army
needed more training and "sensitization."
The United States approached South Sudan's UN mission last
week and China made a similar complaint on behalf of the Security Council.
The UN representative to South Sudan, Hilde Johnson, said
she had warned the South Sudan cabinet over the incidents at a recent meeting.
"I expressed grave concern over this worrying
trend," Johnson said. She added that President Kiir had "expressed
dismay" over the harassment of the UN and diplomatic staff.
She said the government had issued written orders to the
Sudan People's Liberation Army and the police last week, which included a
warning that off-duty security personnel should not wear uniforms nor carry
The UN mission, UNMISS, has 7 600 troops and police in South
Sudan, which broke away from Sudan after a two-decade-long civil war in which
two million people died.
There have been a series of incidents involving the UN since
South Sudan became independent in July 2011.
The government expelled a UN human rights investigator in
October 2012 accusing her of writing "false" reports about army
Two months later, South Sudan's army shot down an UNMISS
helicopter killing all four Russian crew on board.