What is Happening Today in South Sudan?
South Sudan achieved independence from Sudan in 2011, following a referendum agreed to in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which ended Sudan’s second civil war (1983-2005). Independence marked a major milestone, promising to bring with it peace, prosperity, equality, and development. However, in December 2013, a power struggle between President Salva Kiir and his former Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar, unleashed a new and brutal armed conflict that continues today. The conflict, which was political at the outset, quickly took on an ethnic dimension as fighting spread across Unity, Jonglei, and Upper Nile states. After months of peace talks led by Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda, South Sudan’s warring parties have failed to put down their weapons and the region has not taken action on promised measures, such as sanctions on key individuals, to change the cost of war.
Who is Most Affected by this Conflict?
Civilians are paying the highest price for South Sudan’s civil war. Fighting continues and looks set to intensify with the oncoming dry season, when it is easier for the forces on both side to move in remote areas. Over the past nine months, the leaders have signed and broken numerous agreements, without any consequences. The death toll is unknown, but the impact of the violence on families and communities is undeniable.
- As of September 2014, 2.2 million people are currently facing emergency food insecurity and that number is likely to rise to 2.5 million by March 2015.
- 1.35 million people have been displaced from their homes and 453,600 have fled to neighboring countries.
- The UN estimates 9,000 child soldiers have been brought into the conflict.
- Over 100,000 civilians are seeking protection on United Nations bases in South Sudan.
- There have been over a dozen violations of the cessation of hostilities agreement.
- In June 2014, the medical organization Doctors Without Borders reported that 3 children under 5 die every day in one camp where over 47,000 are seeking protection.
What Can to be Done?
As the conflict continues, the international community must build economic leverage for peace by imposing consequences on South Sudan’s warring elites who continue to undermine the peace process, obstruct the delivery of humanitarian aid, and commit atrocities and grave human rights abuses. The U.S. Government and other international donors must broaden and deepen their commitment to peace in South Sudan, including strong support for South Sudanese civil society and justice for communities torn apart by war.
What Can You Do?
- Watch new film The Good Lie and host a Discussion/Screening.
- Add your name to The Good Lie Statement calling for peace in South Sudan.
- Tell International Leaders that South Sudanese peace matters to you.