ICRC president calls for political solution to end South Sudan crisis
As the people fleeing the South Sudan crisis continue to enter neighboring Uganda, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said a political solution is urgently needed to resolve the crisis.
Peter Maurer who visited South Sudan and Uganda told reporters here on Monday that the solution to the crisis is political rather than military.
He urged Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to use his regional influence to push the rival parties to stop the fighting.
"I am deeply convinced that some of the structural and systematic problems with which we are confronting can be found if the neighbors and together with the parties in South Sudan play an important role in a peaceful solution," Maurer said.
"It's through a political negotiation that peace has to be found and not us (humanitarian agencies) can do it. Everybody knows one of the key influencers, one of the key actors in South Sudan crisis is President Museveni because of his influences," Maurer added.
Museveni, under a request by his South Sudan counterpart, Salva Kiir, has been mediating talks between the conflicting parties.
Maurer who met Museveni later on Monday urged the warring parties to respect international humanitarian law. Human rights agencies and the UN have accused parties in the conflict of committing atrocities.
"We remind those taking part in the fighting of their obligations under international humanitarian law and to take all feasible precautions to avoid civilian injuries and loss of life," said Maurer.
He said the conflict is also complicated by the poverty coupled with international pressures on the economy.
New figures released by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office here indicate that of the 1,338,887 refugees and asylum seekers in Uganda, 1,006,779 are South Sudanese as of Aug. 15.
Humanitarian agencies said the increased influx of South Sudanese refugees in Uganda has continued to exert pressure on the limited resources available.
According to UNHCR, of the 674.25 million U.S. dollars Uganda and the UN requested from the international community to cater for the refugees this year, only 24 percent has been raised.
South Sudan descended into violence in December 2013 after political dispute between Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar led to fighting that pitted mostly Dinka ethnic soldiers loyal to Kiir against Machar's Nuer ethnic group.
The 2015 peace agreement to end the violence was again violated in July 2016 when the rival factions resumed fighting in the capital forcing Machar to flee into exile.
The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions that have sought refuge in neighboring countries.