"The order for a second senior staff member to leave is unacceptable," said Jan Egeland, NRC's Secretary General. "Aid organisations bringing relief to millions in South Sudan must be permitted to operate without interference, intimidation or fear of expulsion. Humanitarian principles must be respected. Ordering aid workers to leave the country without due process restricts the ability of relief organisations to save lives and reduce human suffering."
"Aid organisations cannot operate under these conditions. Without assurances from the authorities that we will be able to operate without interference, NRC may have to reassess our ability to deliver assistance at scale in South Sudan," continued Egeland.
The Norwegian Refugee Council has been active in southern Sudan since 2004, and South Sudan since its independence in 2011. From January to August this year alone, we had provided humanitarian assistance to over 658,000 people across the country. This includes over 58,000 children and youth who have participated in NRC-supported education programmes, over 414,000 people who have received food security support, and about 160,000 people who have received shelter and household items.
Facts on South Sudan:
• The world's youngest nation ranks among the countries with the highest levels of conflict-induced population displacement globally.
• More than 3 million South Sudanese have been forced to flee their homes since conflict broke out in December 2013. This includes almost 2 million people who are internally displaced, and over 1 million people who have fled to neighbouring countries.
• Over 6 million people - more than half of South Sudan´s population - need humanitarian assistance.
• Over 4 million people are severely food insecure, the highest historic levels of food insecurity during the harvest season. The situation is likely to further worsen from January to April next year, with 4.6 million people projected to be severely food insecure.
The Norwegian Refugee Council is a humanitarian organisation working in more than 25 countries globally. It has been working in Southern Sudan since 2004. It provides relief humanitarian assistance in the former states of Central Equatorial, Jongeli, Lakes, Northern Bahr El Ghazal, Unity, Warrap and Western Bahr el Ghazal.
For more information the organization's work in South Sudan, go to www.nrc.no/southsudan.
A factsheet on NRC's work in South Sudan is available at http://bit.ly/2hz1AKn.