"Desperate appeals" made for South Sudan protection force

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US Ambassador Samantha Power speaking to journalists at a UN protection of civilians site in Juba, South Sudan. UNMISS Photo

"Desperate appeals" have been made by the people of South Sudan for an armed force to provide protection against violence in the country.

That's the message that was heard by the 15 members of the UN Security Council who are currently visiting the war-torn country.

Daniel Dickinson has more details.

Some 200,000 people are living in UN protection sites and hundreds of thousands more have fled South Sudan following more than two years of conflict in the country.

On Saturday, the 15 members of the Security Council visited one of those sites in the capital Juba.

Ambassador Samantha Power of the United States spoke to reporters during that visit.

"We met with women who describe a huge surge in sexual violence against women who leave the camps in order to try to get firewood in order to be able to cook the food for their family for their children.  As a mother I can imagine that choice, a choice in whether I cook for my kids or whether I risk sexual violence outside the camp.  I know I would go and take that risk for my children, I think any mother would."

Those displaced people are more likely to go home once a regional protection force mandated by the Council is deployed.

The Security Council delegation heard what Ambassador Power described as "desperate appeals" for that force of 4000 soldiers to become a reality.

There are already some 12,000 UN peacekeepers in the country.

Daniel Dickinson, United Nations

Duration: 1’12″

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