The government of South Sudan expelled a senior United Nations (UN) representative without an official explanation. Toby Lanzer has served as the Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in South Sudan as well as the UN Development Programme Resident Coordinator and the Humanitarian Coordinator since July 2012. The European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides, strongly condemned the decision of the South Sudanese government. He said:
“The humanitarian crisis in South Sudan is deepening by the day. For the government to choose this time to expel the United Nations’ aid coordinator is not acceptable. Toby Lanzer has worked tirelessly to address the humanitarian and protection needs of the civilian population of South Sudan. The assistance provided by the international community that has been co-ordinated by Mr Lanzer makes a crucial difference for those facing life threatening circumstances. The country’s problems are man-made, most notably the recent resumption of fighting by both sides, and have resulted in one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world. It is vital that political leaders focus on the task of reaching a workable political settlement, rather than making their own civilians pay the ultimate price, and on helping not impeding humanitarian agencies providing support to those who are suffering.”
The conflict in South Sudan has displaced more than two million people since December 2013. Due to the conflict, the economy of the country is on the edge of collapse with more and more people unable to provide for their livelihoods. Toby Lanzer himself had warned only last week that “4.6 million people in South Sudan will be severely, yes severely, food insecure by July. That is 800 000 more than in July of last year”. The European Union, Member States and the Commission, is providing humanitarian assistance worth over €200 million to vulnerable people in South Sudan in 2015.