December 20th, 2013

Baroness Cox urges David Cameron to respond to the situation in South Sudan

Baroness Cox has contacted the Prime Minister, urging him to issue a public statement on the situation in South Sudan, to assist in the prevention of further death and displacement and to help maintain stability. Her message can be read below.

Conditions in South Sudan have deteriorated since fighting first broke out in Juba on the 15th December, precipitated by growing political tensions. Since then, it has spread to several locations, most significantly Bor, the capital of Jonglei state. At least 500 people are believed to have died so far. Around 34,000 people have sought refuge in UN bases in Juba, Bor and Bentiu. Recent reports suggest that the situation in Juba is now calmer.

President Salva Kiir has stated his readiness to engage in dialogue. However, former Vice-President Riek Machar, who is accused of attempting a coup on Sunday night which triggered the violence, has not made a similar commitment. Machar claims that Kiir has violated the constitution of South Sudan and is “no longer a legal president”.

International Crisis Group have urged the Troika group of governments (the US, UK and Norway), which supported the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended Sudan’s civil war in 2005, to condemn outright all violence against civilians and to support efforts to mediate a peaceful political solution.

On Thursday, President Obama issued a statement in which he acknowledged the progress that South Sudan has made towards “breaking the cycle of violence that characterized much of its history”, but warned that it stands “at the precipice” with recent fighting threatening to plunge the country “back into the dark days of its past”. He called for an end to all inflammatory rhetoric and targeted violence, urging that “all sides must listen to the wise counsel of their neighbours, commit to dialogue and take immediate steps to urge calm and support reconciliation”.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has urged all parties to cease hostilities and engage in dialogue.

You can download Baroness Cox’s letter to the Prime Minister below. Please share it in order to raise awareness of the situation in South Sudan and the need for the international community to respond.



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