South Sudan

Field Reports  In-Depth Reports  Letters & Testimonies

On July 9, 2011, South Sudan gained independence from Sudan and became the world’s youngest country. After more than two decades of civil war, it was hoped that this separation would finally lead to peace for the people of the South. Unfortunately, independence has not brought stability to the entire country, as ongoing border clashes and internal violence continue to cause displacement. At the end of 2013, fighting broke out between government forces and those loyal to the country’s former vice-president Riek Machar. More than 700,000 people have been internally displaced by this fighting, and almost 150,000 others have fled South Sudan and are living as refugees in neighboring countries.

Current Humanitarian Situation in South Sudan
South Sudan continues to experience a humanitarian crisis in many areas of the country. More than 70,000 people have sought shelter on United Nations military bases, where they are living in extremely cramped conditions. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of others displaced by the recent fighting have yet to receive help, and are living in dire conditions with little access to food, clean water, or shelter. There is an urgent need for increased medical and humanitarian assistance throughout the country.

Access to food also remains a primary concern. Many markets were destroyed in the fighting, and food prices remain very high. According to the WFP, more than 3.7 million need food assistance. An attempt is being made to provide food to those in need. However, the approaching rainy season means that access to many parts of the country will be cut-off, making it impossible to reach those millions of people in desperate need of assistance.

Field Reports
  • 03/11/2015
    Since December 2013, conflict in South Sudan has forced 2 million people from their homes. In the north of the country, where fighting is most severe, populations have been pushed to the brink of starvation. Tragically, this war in South Sudan is unlikely to end anytime soon. Donors and aid organizations have mobilized to deliver significant amounts of humanitarian aid, but logistical and security challenges continue to hamper the effectiveness of the response. Improvements can and must be made, both to better respond to people in need and to prepare for new waves of displacement within South Sudan and into neighboring countries like Ethiopia, the largest South Sudanese refugee hosting country. This is a critical moment, before the rainy season begins in earnest in May and logistical challenges become even more difficult. United Nations peacekeepers, armed with a new mandate that prioritizes civilian protection, can also take steps to better implement that mandate and keep people safe.
  • 05/21/2014
    South Sudan is on the verge of a catastrophic humanitarian crisis. Ongoing conflict since mid-December 2013 has forced mass displacement and limited humanitarian access to people in need.
In Depth Reports
  • 07/14/2010
    The clock is ticking fast towards what might be the most important date in modern Sudanese history – two referenda in Sudan that are likely to result in the breakup of Africa’s largest state. With six months remaining until 9 January 2011, the scheduled date of the referenda, the run-up to, and outcome of, the vote must be managed with extreme care. The Guarantors to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), who invested considerable effort in obtaining the CPA on 9 January 2005, have both a responsibility and an ability to help Sudan implement the CPA and prevent further conflict. It is imperative that the Guarantors urgently redouble their efforts to ensure adequate preparations for the referenda, and help secure agreements on sensitive issues such as border demarcation and oil sharing.
  • 02/24/2010

    When violent conflict breaks out, the United States and other United Nations member states often call for the deployment of UN peacekeeping forces to create stability and protect people from harm. The UN Security Council has explicitly instructed peacekeepers to protect civilians under “imminent threat of violence” in most UN peacekeeping mandates since 1999. But there is no clarity as to what “protection” means in practice. Which circumstances require action and what level of force should be used? This has resulted in a lack of proper training, guidance and resources for peacekeepers to accomplish protection activities.

Congressional Testimony
RI asked South Sudan's government to open local nationality offices to serve rural populations and minority tribal groups and reduce the risk of statelessness. In November 2012, South Sudan announced that it would open these offices in each of its ten states. As of October 2013, six offices had opened.