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International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect
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Statement on the Situation in South Sudan 
Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
2 August 2013

Just weeks after celebrating the second anniversary of its independence,
South Sudan faces an uncertain future. Established with the assistance of the United Nations (UN), this new state is now mired in a serious human rights, humanitarian and political crisis.

South Sudan’s problems are deep and multifaceted. Firstly, the deteriorating relationship with Sudan may result in the shutdown of the oil pipeline upon which the wealth of both countries depends. Ongoing border disputes between Sudan and South Sudan mean that a resumption of armed hostilities also remains possible. Secondly, an armed insurgency led by David Yau-Yau threatens South Sudan’s security and stability and has resulted in the widespread displacement of civilians in Jonglei state. Finally, a relapse into devastating inter-communal violence in Jonglei state poses a grave threat to thousands of people.

There is an imminent risk that any, or all, of these conflicts could result in mass atrocity crimes. (…)
South Sudan also faces a major political crisis. On 23 July President Salva Kiir dissolved the government of South Sudan and announced that he would reduce the number of ministries from 29 to 18. Without effective government, South Sudan is incapable of upholding its Responsibility to Protect its population from mass atrocity crimes.
South Sudan cannot overcome these problems without the ongoing support of the UN and its international allies. However, the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) does not currently have the logistical capacity to adequately protect civilians in Jonglei. (…)

Now is the time to intensify efforts to assist the people of South Sudan. UNMISS must be provided with appropriate air and riverine assets in order to fulfill its protective mandate. As President Kiir appoints a new cabinet, the government of South Sudan must rededicate itself to comprehensively resolving the country’s various internal and external conflicts. Urgent security sector reform is also essential to enhance the effectiveness and accountability of the SPLA.

The independence of South Sudan represents one of the UN’s proudest moments so far this century. The failure to adequately protect its civilians from the threat of mass atrocities will leave an indelible stain upon this achievement.

Read the full statement here.

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