US Expresses Concerns Over Negative Impact On S. Sudan's Humanitarian Assistance

The United States of America has noted with concern the action by South Sudan's National Legislative Assembly, February 2, to adopt the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) and the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (RRC) Bills, 2015.

By Peter Lokale Nakimangole

06 February, 2016 [Gurtong] – The RRC bill will set up a regulatory body to oversee the operations and register NGOs. The bill also according to the government of South Sudan will empower South Sudan’s RRC – a relief arm of the government, to ensure that at least 80% of NGOs staffs are South Sudanese.

In a statement released by the US, it notes that, "The authority of the government of the Republic of South Sudan to regulate international NGOs is clear. Yet selected provisions in the new laws related to criminal liability and fines, registration, operational direction, and national staffing mandates could seriously impair the ability of international NGOs to deliver assistance."

The statement further continues to say that "... The United States takes this opportunity to reaffirm its longstanding commitment to the welfare of the people of South Sudan. Since December 2013, the American people have contributed close to $1.5 billion in humanitarian assistance. Much of this assistance — used to feed, shelter and meet the many other needs of the country’s most vulnerable citizens — is provided largely through international NGO partners."

The US is concerned the enactment of the bills as passed could disrupt the operations of these partners and adversely affect the lives of millions of South Sudanese who depend on assistance.

In this regard, the United States recalls the August 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan which directs the Transitional Government of National Unity to review the NGO bill and submit it for public consultation with a view to ensuring adherence to international best practices in regulating NGO activity.

"We look forward to working with the Transitional Government of National Unity to support the creation of an enabling political, administrative, operational and legal environment for the delivery of humanitarian assistance and protection," read the statement in part.


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