In December 2013, the outbreak of violence in South Sudan began. Since fighting started between President Salva Kiir and his former vice president Riek Machar, an estimated 50,000 people have been killed, 1.9 million people have been forced from their homes and the threat of widespread famine looms.
A year later, the threat of increased fighting and the risk of genocide continues to escalate. Both sides have reportedly stockpiled weapons and are posed to resume fighting now that the rainy season has ended.
One year of this crisis is one year too long.
Arms have been allowed to flow in to both sides of the conflict. It is imperative that an arms embargo be implemented by the UN Security Council to slow the deadly killing and pressure all sides to the negotiating table.
Targeted sanctions on those who are standing in the way of peace have been put into place by the United States and international community but they have not reached deeply enough to make a significant difference. Sudan’s neighbors, who have the most leverage with South Sudanese leaders, have yet to follow through with their own threatened sanctions.
Finally, there is a dire need to hold accountable both those who have already committed atrocities and those who are preventing peace in the world’s newest country. Far too many negotiating deadlines have been allowed to pass without any repercussions and an accountability mechanism for crimes committed is yet to be agreed upon.
Without accountability for atrocities committed, deadlines missed and agreements broken, there will be little chance for peace in South Sudan. With the lives of millions of civilians in jeopardy, it’s time for action by the United States and international community.
South Sudan, A Country in Jeopardy
Time is running out for millions of people in South Sudan. A year after the war began, there are dangerous warning signs of increased fighting and potential genocide. Immediate action is needed. Ask President Obama and the international community to help: