In July 2011, with a 99.83% pro-vote, South Sudan became an independent state. After years of civil war and violence, many believed that the schisms that one divided “larger” Sudan might dissipate, allowing for the development of good governance, judicial accountability, and at least a modicum of prosperity. In 2013, however, as divisions emerged in the governing structure of the young country, the population seemed to become split on the basis of their loyalty to either the president, or his newly fired ex-deputy, and violence emerged once more. The subsequent conflict between South Sudan’s government forces—the SPLA—and the rebel SPLA-In Opposition (IO), has seen some of the most atrocious violations of human rights, especially in oil producing Unity State. A recent Human Rights Watch report documents several cases of rape, extra-judicial killings, torture, civilians-targeted attacks, and countless other war crimes and crimes against humanity. 143,000 students are currently enrolled in UNICEF emergency education programs. 2 millions individuals have been displaced. 4 millions are living in a state of food insecurity. The humanitarian crisis alone merits the attention of the international community, yet continues to fall in deaf ears.
Skye Wheeler is a researcher in Human Rights Watch’s Africa Division working on South Sudan and Sudan. Before joining Human Rights Watch in February 2013, she worked as a Humanitarian Press Officer for OXFAM America, as an editor of the Gurtong website, a freelance journalist for a range of outlets including Thomson Reuters, and for UNICEF. @WheelerSkye
Human Rights Watch: https://www.hrw.org/report/2015/07/22/they-burned-it-all/destruction-villages-killings-and-sexual-violence-unity-state
Akshaya Kumar is the Sudan and South Sudan Policy Analyst for the Enough Project. Prior to coming to Enough, Akshaya was a Law Fellow at the Public International Law and Policy Group, or PILPG, where she served as a legal adviser to the government of the Republic of South Sudan. While at PILPG, Akshaya also supported the efforts of the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement -North to secure humanitarian aid access for war-affected populations in South Kordofan and Blue Nile. @AkshayaSays