In 2012, I wrote about Al-Bashir: Sudan: divide and rule, the winning strategy. A year before that, as South Sudan celebrated its independence, I was carefully optimistic in South Sudan: Render unto southern Sudanese that which is theirs. And in December last year, on the beginning of the South Sudan civil war, I paraphrased an article by Daniel Howden published on The Guardian, in South Sudan: how we all fell for the ‘big lie’.
Needless to say the situation is dire and complicated in South Sudan right now. To better understand what is happening, I selected some posts I think are worth reading. Starting with The Sudans: after the divide Series published on The Guardian, and a must-read article by James Copnall
@JamesCopnall : South Sudan conflict: What chance of peace?
On Twitter, Tristan McConnell
@t_mcconnell tweeted: “Personal ambitions” of #SouthSudan‘s leaders “jeopardize the future of an entire nation,” says Ban Ki-moon http://bit.ly/1AydbbM. And Lesley Anne Warner @Lesley_Warner : “ #Machar blames repeated #SouthSudan conflicts (since formation of #SPLA in ’83) on failure to address root causes: http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article53334“. Another tweet by José Vieira @josesvieira : “ #SouthSudan year-long war displaced 750,000 children; 320,000 are refugees, 400,000 miss school, 12,000 fight in opposing armies ( @UNICEF).”
A must-follow account on Twitter for their extensive coverage: The Niles
@TheNiles2012. Their recent tweets:
– After one year of civil war, leaders in
#SouthSudan appear no nearer to a power-sharing deal… http://fb.me/1HBEzy79k
– A timeline of
#SouthSudan’s crisis by the South Sudan Committee for National Healing, Peace and Reconciliation: http://fb.me/7gvSb4AzT
– ‘On the anniversary of
#SouthSudan‘s civil war, in memoriam’ — South Sudan Committee for National Healing, Peace… http://fb.me/6UrVI7Jdx
Two other articles will allow you to better understand the situation : ‘South Sudan at war: political failures, public expectations and how to bring peace’ by Peter Biar Ajak, founder and director of the Centre for Strategic Analysis and Research (C-SAR) and Co-Country Director for International Growth Centre (IGC) South Sudan. And ‘Civil society: power sharing dispute means “little hope” for peace‘ via Radio Tamazuj @RadioTamazuj.
Also, don’t miss on Soundcloud French journalist Michel Arseneault
@miko75011 covering African news for Radio France Internationale (RFI): – #SouthSudan Law Society calls for #ICC war crimes investigation https://soundcloud.com/radiofranceinternationale/south-sudan-activist-calls-for-war-crimes-investigation @bpjamie @NubaReports #Sudan @ICJKenya @GCR2P
#SouthSudan marks grim anniversary #Presbyterian minister, activist issues warning https://soundcloud.com/radiofranceinternationale/south-sudan-in-worse-shape-than-before-independence-activists @bpjamie @NubaReports #Sudan
Last week, Namaa Al-Mahdi نعماء
@Namaa0009 tweeted: ‘Protests, Alshajarah, Khartoum, heavy use of police tear gas, citizens block the road, injuries on both sides #Sudan‘, and Aguil Lual Blunt @AguilB mentioned: Reconsidering Sanctions in South Sudan By Alex de Waal.
On Saturday, Women Under Siege
@WomenUndrSiege tweeted: ‘ #ICC halts #Darfur war crime inquiries http://buff.ly/12GQUNU ‘. Michel Arseneault @miko75011 posted on Soundcloud: ‘ #Darfur activist laments #ICC prosecution decision to scrap #Sudan investigation https://soundcloud.com/radiofranceinternationale/darfur-peace-activist-saddened-by-icc-decision #Bensouda @Namaa0009 @sudanreeves. The same day, Reuters published: Sudan’s Bashir claims victory over ICC after court shelves Darfur probe.
Darfur, Sudan, South Sudan… The region is boiling, and the conflict in South Sudan is the result of many factors, like South Sudan analyst James Copnall points out in his article published on the BCC website: ‘South Sudan’s civil war is a regional affair too. Ugandan troops and a Sudanese rebel group have fought for President Kiir, while Sudan is accused of supporting Mr Machar’s rebels […] Many South Sudanese wonder how the country can be peaceful as long as Mr Kiir and Mr Machar are at the forefront of political life.‘
Aid workers describe a desperate situation and four days ago, Oxfam wrote on their website: ‘Early 4 million people remain in urgent need in South Sudan following the conflict that broke out last year. Over one million people have fled their homes and are displaced within the country and over 450,000 have fled to neighboring countries.‘
The situation is serious, but the solutions are difficult to find. Alex de Waal writes on African Arguments: ‘Imposing sanctions without an effective and legitimate peace process is therefore putting the cart before the horse. Any such sanctions would have no political horsepower and would just undermine the standing of those who imposed them. Once there is a peace agreement that commands popular support, sanctioning those who remain outside it would be a different story—but there is no sign of that at the moment.‘
Yesterday with the MagkaSama Project we celebrated the 66th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Every year on this anniversary date, since the Initiative I launched in 2008, we organize events/discussions about Human Rights, an opportunity to declare our commitment to the principles and standards developed in the UDHR. Even though there have been significant advances, yet too many countries fail to uphold human rights. Whether it is in Sudan and South Sudan, or anywhere else in the world, political leaders have to live up to the expectations, respect their people and their commitment to serve them, not the other way around. Some should never forget that.