FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON – In the wake of recent inter-communal violence that has killed hundreds and displaced 60,000 people in South Sudan’s Jonglei state, robust action is needed on the part of the government in Juba supported by the international community to deescalate the immediate crisis, address the systemic causes of the violence, and sustain peace between communities, according to a new Enough Project report.
The report, “Urgent Steps to Counter Inter-Communal Violence in South Sudan,” recommends key initiatives that the Republic of South Sudan and the international community should focus on to prevent further attacks on civilians in the short term and foster lasting peace in the long term.
“This cycle of violence can be broken with the right interventions," said John Prendergast, Enough Project co-founder and a co-author of the report. "Inter-communal violence in South Sudan is not inevitable. The Juba government and Sudanese churches can play a crucial role in brokering a sustainable agreement between the two parties, but diplomatic efforts must be robustly supported by the UN mission in South Sudan and donor governments. And much more must be done by the South Sudan government, the UN mission and the UN Security Council in urgently protecting civilian populations."
In the short term, actors should strengthen inter-communal reconciliation efforts, which would involve bringing the two feuding communities – the Lou-Nuer and Murle – into dialogue on accountability and compensation, among other things. Civilian protection efforts in the form of UN peacekeepers and South Sudanese army and policy units must also be strengthened, the report states.
“South Sudan’s responsibility to protect its civilians begins with support to the grassroots reconciliation process that should remain under the churches' leadership. This support should include the delivery of security and services to the affected communities and high-level engagement to address the political spoilers that may arise during the process,” said Amanda Hsiao, Enough Project South Sudan field researcher and report co-author. “In their parallel efforts on the ground, it is critical that the Sudan Council of Churches deepens their engagement with youth in both communities.”
Long-term efforts should focus on accountability for those who organize inter-communal violence and increasing representation in government for underrepresented communities. Other long-term initiatives aimed at ending the cyclical violence include increasing state authority and bringing infrastructure and economic opportunities to the greatly underdeveloped Jonglei state.
“South Sudan, with the international community’s support, must begin to address systemic causes of inter-communal violence, such as a lack of accountability, and the need for greater inclusion of diverse ethnic communities at high levels of government,” said Jennifer Christian, Enough Project policy analyst and report co-author. “This will be critical to ensuring the security and viability of the country going forward.”
Read the full report: “Urgent Steps to Counter Inter-Communal Violence in South Sudan.”
Enough is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, the Enough Project focuses on crises in Sudan, eastern Congo, and areas of Africa affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Enough’s strategy papers and briefings provide sharp field analysis and targeted policy recommendations based on a “3P” crisis response strategy: promoting durable peace, providing civilian protection, and punishing perpetrators of atrocities. Enough works with concerned citizens, advocates, and policy makers to prevent, mitigate, and resolve these crises. For more information, please visit www.enoughproject.org.