One year on from ‘the end’ of the South Sudanese Civil War

20 September 2016

For many decades now, ‘development’ has depoliticised many international situations and simplified the issues. This tactic does not work. HART acknowledges how political disputes, interventions, and history affects current human rights violations. Through this, they address the subject in its full context and choose to work in countries where some of the worst human rights violations occur.

Sudan was created in 1956 during decolonisation. However, this diverse country was forced together, resulting in two decades of civil war between the north and south. In 2011, South Sudan officially gained independence from Sudan. What should have been a bright new future for the country has played out rather differently with South Sudan being plagued by internal conflict ever since.

Independence day in South Sudan (Politico)
Independence day in South Sudan (Politico)

Although Sudan and South Sudan each have their own tumultuous histories, this particular conflict began in December 2013 when a political power struggle broke out between President Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar. The President sacked his cabinet and accused the Vice-President of planning a failed coup leading to a distinct split, with each side being backed by different military forces. Not only have up to 300,000 people been killed in the conflict, approximately 2 million people have been displaced, with 1.4million still remaining in the country. Whether in their home communities or in refugee compounds, essential infrastructure such as hospitals and schools have been devastated or abandoned. Doctors Without Borders has warned of “far-reaching consequences for hundreds of thousands of people” with six of its clinics and hospitals attacked, looted or torched – sometimes repeatedly.

It is easy to just think of those directly killed in the conflict, but this war has had a knock-on effect to mass groups of people: severe famine, limited free speech, ethnic violence, widespread torture of civilians, child marriages and gender-based violence. It is clear that many human rights are being violated.

One year ago, on the 17th August 2015, a peace accord was signed that required the African Union (AU) to investigate and prosecute the individuals and groups suspected of committing genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity since the conflict began. Yet the violence continues, with South Sudan remaining lowest on this year’s Global Peace Index. Although Mr Machar eventually returned from exile to be sworn in as Vice-President of a new unity government under Mr Kiir in April 2016, he was sacked months later after renewed conflict. Civilians who have survived continue without infrastructure and support, with the UN documenting PTSD as prevalent as ‘post-genocide Rwanda’, and violent clashes still occurring. While the world forgets, everyday people are experiencing human rights violations and children are growing up without their basic needs being met.

A UN refugee camp (Geoff Pugh/The Telegraph)
A UN refugee camp (Geoff Pugh/The Telegraph)

Despite such a need for humanitarian work, the UN has called for renewed efforts as the international community forgets the South Sudanese plights. However, it is not just money and food the South Sudanese need. Entire communities need to be rebuilt and the human rights consequences of the Civil War need to be addressed. HART primarily supports three projects in South Sudan that work in a range of areas such as women’s empowerment, health, agriculture, economic development, education and emergency relief. This holistic approach is achieved through partnerships with grassroots organisations.

You can find out more about the organisation HART works with here.




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