2nd Norwegian refugee worker expelled from South Sudan

AP News
Posted: Dec 14, 2016 5:33 AM

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A second staff member with the Norwegian Refugee Council has been ordered to leave South Sudan in less than a week, the group said Wednesday, adding it is "deeply dismayed" by the incident that comes on the eve of the third anniversary of the outbreak of South Sudan's civil war.

The refugee group's secretary-general, Jan Egeland, said Warrap State, its area manager in Alek, was told to leave South Sudan on Tuesday. He was expelled four days after country director Victor Moses was kicked out.

Egeland said the actions are "unacceptable" and said aid organizations in South Sudan "must be permitted to operate without interference, intimidation or fear of expulsion."

He said the refugee group "may have to reassess our ability to deliver assistance at scale in South Sudan."

The Oslo-based organization said in a statement it had "not received any formal explanation of the charges against these two individuals."

In Geneva, Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, urged the world body to call on South Sudan's leaders to refrain from incitement to violence and ethnic hatred, adding there's still time for action to avoid "a worst-case scenario" in the five-year-old country.

The Geneva-based body has no power to sanction countries but it can formally investigate allegations of human rights abuses.

Last week, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator said South Sudan's government had restricted the delivery of aid. In the month of November, the U.N. recorded more than 80 incidents where aid workers were attacked or blocked from doing their job.

South Sudan has seen continuous fighting since a civil war broke out Dec. 15, 2013. More than 12,000 U.N. peacekeepers are already in the country and tens of thousands have been killed and more than 2 million people displaced.