Escalating Violence and Looming Humanitarian Disaster in South Sudan Require New Approach

(Washington, DC) –United to End Genocide President Tom Andrews released the following statement urging action by the United States and United Nations to address the escalating violence and mounting humanitarian crises in South Sudan. “Accounts of thousands being massacred in escalating ethnic violence in South Sudan – and a looming humanitarian disaster – require a bold new and comprehensive approach by the United States and other nations to save countless lives and avert a potential catastrophe. “As the world’s newest country, South Sudan faces huge development and internal security challenges. These challenges are being exacerbated and death tolls increased by its northern neighbor, Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir. The brutal attacks by Bashir’s forces against civilians living on the border have driven tens of thousands of refugees into South Sudan.  The military attacks by Bashir’s forces against South Sudan in these border regions – targeting those running for their lives from Sudan – continues to strain the capacity of the government of South Sudan to create stability in regions wracked by ethnic violence. “The United States and the international community need to recognize and act appropriately to avert the catastrophe that is unfolding before our eyes in South Sudan and the border areas of Sudan. It is not enough to host a conference on South Sudan’s development needs, as the administration did last month in Washington.  Increased and sustained diplomatic and material support is needed for the already overstretched UN Mission in South Sudan, including more peacekeepers for civilian protection and provision of helicopters to allow quick access to areas threatened by ethnic violence.  President Obama and other world leaders must also take strong action to get tough on Bashir and finally hold him fully accountable. The President needs to lead the international community to expand Sudan sanctions, secure immediate access for humanitarian aid organizations while providing a robust investment in humanitarian aid, and expand the mandate of the International Criminal Court. This must be done immediately and involve the highest levels of government leaders.  The stakes are too high for piecemeal approaches and timidity.” Background: Fighting between the Lou Nuer and Murle tribes has resulted in the deaths of what some local officials estimate to be more than 3,000 and the displacement of 20,000-50,000 civilians. Tensions over cattle rustling have resulted in several back and forth attacks between the tribes over the past several months including one by members of the Murle tribe which led to the deaths of an estimated 600 people. Overall, the United Nations estimates that inter-ethnic violence in South Sudan has resulted in the displacement of some hundreds of thousands and the deaths of over 1,000 in the past year. The Government of South Sudan is deploying 3,000 extra soldiers and 800 police officers to the area, while Vice President Riek Machar has been to the area to help in mediation efforts. Since November 2011, the Government of Sudan is reported to have attacked border areas in newly-independent South Sudan on five separate occasions. Twice these attacks have been directed at refugee areas where civilians from Sudan’s South Kordofan and Blue Nile States were seeking shelter from Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s forces.

###

The Save Darfur Coalition and Genocide Intervention Network are now United to End Genocide. The organization remains committed to its work to end the crisis in Darfur and bring peace to all of Sudan as well as to end violence in other areas of mass atrocities. The merger creates the world's largest anti-genocide activist organization, with a membership base of hundreds of thousands of committed activists, an unparalleled nationwide student movement, more than 190 faith-based, advocacy and human rights partner organizations, and a network of institutional investors collectively representing more than $3 trillion in assets under management.
FacebookTwitter