John Campbell

Africa in Transition

Campbell tracks political and security developments across sub-Saharan Africa.

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Medicines Sans Frontiers Critical of UN Mission in South Sudan

by John Campbell
April 11, 2014

People displaced by recent fighting wait to get water inside a United Nations Mission in South Sudan camp in Malakal, Upper Nile State March 3, 2014. (Andreea Campeanu/Courtesy Reuters)


Medicines sans Frontiers (MSF –“Doctors Without Borders”) issued a detailed criticism of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) for its alleged failure to improve conditions at the Tomping displaced persons camp in Juba. UNMISS is trying close the camp and remove the displaced persons elsewhere. This will pose logistical challenges during the rainy season, now underway.

MSF is a highly distinguished international humanitarian agency that has cooperated closely with UN agencies and plays a major humanitarian role in South Sudan. The New York Times reports that the overt criticism of UN agencies by MSF is unusual.

This episode highlights the humanitarian challenges that endure in South Sudan, even if international attention has waned following the political and security crises that began in December last year. The bottom line is that humanitarian and UN agencies working in South Sudan require much higher levels of international funding. Otherwise, an even greater humanitarian tragedy than what we have already seen becomes all but inevitable.

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