Sudán del Sur

A U.N. armored vehicle passes people walking toward a camp in Malakal, South Sudan, in December 2013. (Ben Curtis/AP)

Is South Sudan coming to terms with the violent five-year civil war that left 400,000 dead, and millions displaced? By 2018, a peace deal recommitted both sides to establishing a Hybrid Court for South Sudan, along with a truth-telling mechanism and reparations. The peace agreement that supporters and opponents of President Salva Kiir had agreed to now hangs by a thread.

To date, none of the peace agreement’s transitional justice mechanisms are operational. And, in an apparent setback, the United States reportedly pulled its funding for the court, a move some analysts see as a quiet signal that U.S. officials have given up on the court.…  Seguir leyendo »

People wave the flag of the new Republic of South Sudan after the unveiling of a statue of late South Sudan rebel leader and first vice president John Garang during a ceremony celebrating South Sudan's independence, in the capital of Juba on July 9, 2011. (Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images)

This month marks 10 years since South Sudan’s independence, a heady moment in which the world’s newest nation was celebrated along with the success of U.S activism in ending Africa’s longest civil war. To commemorate the 2 million victims of that war, the South Sudanese celebrate Martyr’s Day on July 30, the anniversary of the day the country’s revolutionary hero, John Garang, died in a helicopter crash.

Garang was a charismatic rebel leader whose battlefield success was matched by his decades-long diplomatic push in Washington that won critical support from a disparate group of Americans (representatives from both parties, prominent evangelicals, eventually even President George W.…  Seguir leyendo »

Given South Sudan’s state of disrepair, it can be difficult to fathom that the world’s newest country was once synonymous with hope. A decade ago today, tens of thousands of elated South Sudanese sang and danced in the capital of Juba to celebrate their country’s independence from Sudan, while a parade of foreign dignitaries from China, the United States, and the United Nations arrived to offer pledges of financial support. After years of efforts to end the Sudanese civil war—Africa’s longest-running conflict—optimism reigned. After all, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir had defied skeptics by conceding the loss of a third of his territory and the source of his country’s massive oil wealth.…  Seguir leyendo »

Few nations have seen their dreams and hopes dashed as quickly and ruthlessly as South Sudan. A mere two years after thousands thronged the streets of the capital, Juba, to celebrate independence from Sudan’s autocratic rule, the country descended into a brutal civil war. The fallout between President Salva Kiir and Vice President-turned-rebel Riek Machar, and the subsequent fighting, exerted a terrible toll. Between 2013 and 2018, up to 400,000 people were killed and 4 million—a third of the country’s population—displaced, amid numerous reports of ethnic-based atrocities like rape and massacres.

The world’s youngest country is now approaching its 10-year anniversary, and while the war has quieted thanks to a fragile 2018 peace deal, the risk of a return to full-blown conflict is never far away.…  Seguir leyendo »

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir arrives for the swearing-in ceremony of Cyril Ramaphosa at Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria, South Africa, on May 25, 2019. (Jerome Delay/AP)

Last Saturday, African leaders gathered in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, to witness the signing of the Juba Peace Agreement, which promises to end decades of conflict in Sudan’s restive Darfur, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile regions. The agreement, brokered by South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, is yet another milestone in Sudan’s gradual transition to peace and democracy. And while Kiir deserves commendation for his successful mediation in Sudan’s conflict, his own management of South Sudan has been disastrous. Just last month, the Social Progress Imperative ranked South Sudan dead last on its 2020 Social Progress Index, at 163 out of 163.…  Seguir leyendo »

Chairman of Sudan’s Sovereign Council, Lt General Abdel Fattah al Burhan (left), South Sudan President Salva Kiir (centre) and the Sudanese Prime Minister Dr Abdalla Hamdok (right) greet people gathering during the initialling of the Sudan peace deal with the rebel groups in Juba, South Sudan. Photo by AKUOT CHOL/AFP via Getty Images.

Although there is a long road ahead to achieve sustainable peace and formidable challenges remain, the hope is Sudan can turn the page on decades of war that has left hundreds of thousands dead and millions displaced, particularly in Darfur and the Two Areas (South Kordofan and Blue Nile).

The peace agreement, between Sudan’s transitional government and the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), a broad alliance of armed and other movements, and Minni Minawi’s Sudan Liberation Movement, is not yet comprehensive as it did not include two other important armed movements.

Expected to be formally signed in early October, the deal has been hailed as a ’historic achievement’ by the UN secretary-general, and the international community also commended the government of South Sudan for its positive role as mediator and urged hold-out groups to join the peace process.…  Seguir leyendo »

By easing access to basic services, schools and farms, and allowing civilians to travel once again between villages and towns, the South Sudan peace deal signed in September 2018 was a much-needed boon for the country’s population, whose lives had been decimated by years of brutal fighting and a man-made humanitarian crisis that claimed up to 400,000 lives.

Almost two years down the line, South Sudan’s leaders have formed a unity government -- with critical support from South Africa -- and should be commended for achieving progress towards peace. But the new government, formed in February of this year, remains shaky.…  Seguir leyendo »

South Sudan President Salva Kiir poses for a news photographer in Juba. (Photo by Peter Bauza for The Washington Post)

In February, South Sudan President Salva Kiir swore in the country’s new vice president — rebel leader Riek Machar, his longtime rival. The ceremony marked a renewed hope for peace in South Sudan. As they had done in the past, Machar and Kiir smiled for the cameras and referred to each other as partners, urging forgiveness and pledging commitment to the still unfinished peace settlement. This time, they insisted, they would work together to end the country’s ethnic civil war and bring stability to the region.

Such ceremonies can signal unified commitment to a peaceful future. But seeing a leader who has targeted one’s ethnic group for violence then switch gears and endorse a peace deal might raise suspicions — does the leader really support the deal, or will there be more violence in the future?…  Seguir leyendo »

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir arrives for the opening session Feb. 9 of the 33rd African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (AP)

Next week, the signatories of South Sudan’s 2018 peace agreement are due to form a unity government. Since the parties have twice delayed forming this government, there has been a flurry of attention on the Feb. 22 deadline from local, regional and other governments. Unlike the previous deadlines, the parties face the additional difficulty of coping with a natural disaster.

Since July, nearly 1 million South Sudanese have been directly affected by flooding. In 2020, food experts predict 5.5 million people in South Sudan will lack sufficient food, in part as a result of the floods destroying crops.

These floods put South Sudan at risk of a large-scale humanitarian disaster — and they come at a critical juncture in the country’s peace process.…  Seguir leyendo »

People wave national flags during a peace ceremony in Juba on 31 October. Photo: Getty Images.

South Sudan’s long-running peace process has reached another milestone. On 12 September, President Salva Kiir and opposition leaders, including Riek Machar, signed a power-sharing deal promising an end to the five-year conflict that is estimated to have claimed nearly 400,000 lives and displaced one-third of the population.

Under the deal, which is a ‘revitalized’ version of a previous deal reached in 2015, Machar will be reinstated as first vice president with a reconstituted transitional government to be established in May 2019. News of the agreement was greeted with cautious optimism by a population who are desperate for peace, and huge crowds turned out for the government’s peace celebrations on 31 October.…  Seguir leyendo »

Peacekeeper troops from Ethiopia and deployed in the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) patrol outside Abyei town, in Abyei state. ALBERT GONZALEZ FARRAN / AFP

In 2011, Sudan and South Sudan sought outside help to prevent a return to war along what would become their international border. This effort followed a resurgence of violence in border areas: a new insurgency in South Sudan’s Unity State in April; the Sudanese army’s move into Abyei, an oil-rich area claimed by both countries, in May; and renewed fighting in the Sudanese states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile (known as the “Two Areas”) in June. Part of the UN Security Council’s response to their requests for support was its deployment of a peacekeeping mission, the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA).…  Seguir leyendo »

El nexo entre la guerra y el clima

En muchos aspectos, Yemen y Sudán del Sur son mundos distintos. Pero pese a las inmensas diferencias de historia, tradición y cultura, los dos países comparten una triste característica: sus pueblos soportan a la vez dos de las crisis más destructivas creadas por el hombre (la guerra y el cambio climático).

Sudán del Sur lleva casi un decenio atrapado en la guerra. Sólo en los últimos cinco años, murieron decenas de miles de personas y casi un cuarto de la población resultó desplazada; muchos se vieron obligados a huir a países vecinos como Kenia, Uganda o Sudán.

Yemen, por su parte, se convirtió en un importante frente de la batalla por la influencia regional que están librando Arabia Saudita (que tiene vínculos con el gobierno de Yemen) e Irán (que apoya a la milicia rebelde hutí).…  Seguir leyendo »

South Sudan President Salva Kiir in Juba in October. Photo: Getty Images.

South Sudan faces an existential crisis. More than four million people – between a third and half of the population – are displaced from their homes. Nearly eight million people are in need of humanitarian assistance.  The economy is in tatters. After almost four years of civil war, conflict has devolved into fighting across multiple fronts.

A new regional peace effort

In an attempt to address the ongoing crisis, the Horn of Africa’s regional organization, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), initiated the High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) in June. The forum is intended to revive an effectively defunct 2015 peace accord, the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS), which collapsed following fighting in Juba in July 2016 between government forces and the armed opposition loyal to former First Vice President Riek Machar.…  Seguir leyendo »

Chinese peacekeepers attend a ceremony in Zhengzhou before leaving for South Sudan on September 21 on a one-year mission. Photo: Xinhua

China’s announcement of plans to vastly expand its first-ever overseas military base in Djibouti follows a dramatic display in July, when two Chinese navy vessels steamed across the Indian Ocean towards the dock. On both counts, Asia’s pre-eminent power declared in no uncertain terms that it will sit on the sidelines no longer. China’s growing naval capacity is being put to use in its deepening involvement in the Horn of Africa’s security. For years, it has been testing, refining and growing its clout in turbulent South Sudan – an indication that its adherence to the long-standing policy of non-interference is becoming less doctrinaire.…  Seguir leyendo »

A teacher leads a mixed class of South Sudanese refugee children and Ugandan children in singing during class in a tarpaulin tent on June 7 at the Ombechi Primary School in the Bidi Bidi refugee settlement in northern Uganda. (Ben Curtis/AP)

South Sudan is 6. The government has canceled its birthday party. The treasury is empty. Neither the army nor rebels have command and control in a civil war that stumps peace mediators. Three million have fled their homes.

This situation escalated from a shootout in the presidential guard on the night of Dec. 15, 2013. The misunderstanding spread through the army barracks, to the capital, and then the rest of the country.

But the civil war has older roots, in 50 years of Sudanese conflicts. When British colonizers left Sudan in 1956, Khartoum’s carousel of military juntas continued a British policy of mistreating southerners.…  Seguir leyendo »

La famine est une mort cruelle. Nous venons tout juste de rentrer du Soudan du Sud et nous avons pu constater à quel point la famine affecte particulièrement les enfants, les femmes et les personnes âgées. La faim affaiblit tellement les gens qu’ils ne sont plus capables de résister à la moindre maladie. Un banal rhume peut s’avérer mortel. C’est ce qui se passe en ce moment au Soudan du Sud.

Dans le centre nord du pays, la région la plus touchée par la famine, des femmes et des enfants aux yeux cernés tentent, tant bien que mal, de faire face aux souffrances liées à la faim.…  Seguir leyendo »

Men unload boxes of nutritional supplements from a helicopter prior to a humanitarian food distribution carried out by the United Nations World Food Programme in Thonyor, Leer county, South Sudan, on 25 February 2017. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola.

The last time the UN declared a famine was in 2011, in Somalia. The last time it faced more than one major famine simultaneously was more than three decades ago. Today we are on the brink of four – in Yemen, Nigeria, Somalia and South Sudan.

The spectre of famine is primarily the result of war, not natural disaster. According to the UN, more than twenty million people, millions of them children, are at risk of starvation. This is happening in man-made crises and under the Security Council’s watch. In some places, the denial of food and other aid is a weapon of war as much as its consequence.…  Seguir leyendo »

Un garçon observe les colis largués par un avion du Programme alimentaire mondial, près du village de Rubkai, au Soudan du Sud, le 18 février. SIEGFRIED MODOLA / REUTERS

Les Nations unies ont déclaré officiellement l’état de famine dans certaines régions du Soudan du Sud et il est fort probable que de telles annonces se répètent dans un futur proche.

Près de 20 millions de personnes, réparties entre quatre pays, à savoir le Yémen (14 millions), le Soudan du Sud (5 millions), le Nigeria (5 millions) et la Somalie (3 millions) sont actuellement confrontées à une grave insécurité alimentaire, cela signifie qu’elles sont déjà sous-alimentées et n’ont souvent pas d’autres choix que de vendre leurs actifs pour survivre. Jamais en l’espace de 20 ans, autant de personnes ne se sont retrouvées si près d’une catastrophe humanitaire.…  Seguir leyendo »

A woman waits to be registered at a food distribution centre run by the United Nations World Food Programme in Thonyor, Leer state, South Sudan. Reuters/Siegfried Modola

A man-made famine? That question has been on the lips a lot in recent days after it was declared in South Sudan. The last time this happened in Africa, or anywhere, was in Somalia in 2011.

The classification of a famine as man-made is applied to severe hunger arising from a set of foreseeable, and therefore avoidable, circumstances. According to criteria set down by the United Nations a famine is declared in an area when at least 20% of households are viewed as being exposed to extreme food shortages, 30% are malnourished and deaths from hunger has reached two persons a day for every 10,000.…  Seguir leyendo »

Famine used to be one of the world’s most effective killers. A tenth of England’s population died in the Great Famine of 1315. In the mid-17th century starvation wiped out a third of the population of Poland, a tenth of all Scots and a third of all Finns. A million people died in the Irish famine of 1845. Between 108 BC and 1911 there were 1,828 famines in China alone. Every successive century saw a decline in the incidence of famine but 70 million still starved to death during the 20th century. Then, at the start of the 21st century, famine looked to be disappearing.…  Seguir leyendo »