By Daniel P. Sullivan,
July 09, 2021 — Upon the tenth anniversary of its independence, South Sudan faces grave challenges, from stalled peace implementation to risk of famine. The world’s attention and support are needed now as much as ever to ensure the next ten years of the world’s newest nation do not repeat the tragedy of the past decade.
A revitalized peace agreement has stemmed the worst of atrocities, but its slow implementation has allowed unacceptable continuation of atrocities and a food insecurity crisis. South Sudan has also been one of the most dangerous places in the world for women and for humanitarian workers.
The United States as part of the Troika with the UK and Norway must engage regional partners and South Sudan’s leaders toward progress on key issues including cantonment and integration of forces, development of a new constitution, and justice and accountability. Donor countries must also sustain aid in the face of dangerous levels of food insecurity.
At the same time, with a third of the population still displaced, the UN peacekeeping mission and humanitarian partners must be wary of the dangers of premature returns. Amid ongoing insecurity, safety assessments, monitoring, and consultations with displaced people will be vital, particularly for women and children and those in recently transitioned UN-sponsored Protection of Civilian sites.
Daniel P. Sullivan is senior advocate for human rights at the Refugees International