South Sudan Urges The International Community To Act
Out of sight, out of mind. It is a phrase that could be applicable to the coverage of the ongoing civil war between Sudan and South Sudan. While elections in July of 2011 did result in South Sudan gaining its independence, it has not put an end to the violence.
And the situation in South Sudan could worsen as Sudan has announced its intention to close two cross-border oil pipelines within 60 days and shut down oil output by August 7 unless South Sudan gave up support for the rebels. The pipeline is the primary source of funding for South Sudan and closing it down could decimate its economy.
Concern As Situation In South Sudan Deteriorates
The deteriorating situation has many in the region concerned.
“Much as we believe in the ideals of the responsibility to protect, our mandate as the government and the mandate of the UN cannot match with resources that are there,” Majak D’Agoot, South Sudan’s defense minister, told Agence France-Presse last week.
His comments came in the wake of a brazen attack on UN peacekeepers by forces of the Sudanese government that resulted in the deaths of seven. The International Criminal Court (ICC) is looking at whether the attack constitutes a war crime.
The inability of the UN mission to secure the safety of civilians is leading to a growing distrust of the UN, reports The New York Times.
“South Sudanese officials increasingly question whether the world body is on their side, with earlier support for independence turning to criticism of the young government’s record on human rights and continuing confrontation with neighboring Sudan, from which South Sudan seceded.
The situation today stands in stark contrast to the heady optimism that followed South Sudan’s independence in July 2011. Days of celebration led to the sobering reality of trying to govern the country, Africa’s newest and one of the least developed in the world,” write Josh Kron and Nicholas Kulish.
In addition to lacking sufficient “boots on the ground” to protect civilians, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos testified recently that the UN needs nearly $13 billion to provide aid to 73 million people.
African Union Calls On Action From International Community
The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (PSC) recently urged the international community not to back away from its support of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD), which it believes is key to resolving the problems the Sudan is facing.
The Doha Document was released in 2011 after more than two years of intense negotiations, dialogue and consultations with the major parties to the Darfur conflict, all relevant stakeholders and international partners.
The PSC statement calls on the international community “not to relent in its support to the search for durable peace and stability in Darfur, including support for timely implementation of DDPD provisions.”
International Community Abdicating Its Role To Speak Out Against Atrocities
Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times acknowledges that the war in Sudan is complicated, but says the international community has failed to take even the easiest step toward a resolution — speaking out.
he writes that “our silence empowers Sudan’s leaders to pick up where they left off in Darfur. Indeed, survivors say that one of the leaders in this year’s attacks was Ali Kushayb, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes committed in Darfur a decade ago.”
“There are no easy solutions when a government commits serial atrocities. But there are steps that the United States and other countries can take — including speaking out much more forcefully — that raise the cost to Sudan for this kind of behavior.
“International criticism has sometimes moderated the brutality of President Bashir. When there’s a spotlight on Darfur, killings and rapes tend to subside a bit. Bipartisan legislation — the Sudan Peace, Security and Accountability Act of 2013 — aims to create such a spotlight. It’s not a panacea, but it may help at the edges,” writes Kristof.