August 20th, 2014
Friends and Diaspora of South Sudan Urge Leaders to Choose Peace
Baroness Cox has joined a group of 91 individuals and organisations in writing to South Sudanese leaders, urging them to immediately end the conflict, commit to the peace process and ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid. The press release follows, and the full text of the letter can be downloaded below.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – August 18, 2014 – Ninety-one individuals and organizations sent a letter to South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir, former Vice President Dr. Riek Machar, and to all South Sudanese military and political leaders who have a role in either choosing to perpetuate or end conflict in South Sudan. These friends of South Sudan, who are calling for an immediate end to violence, include former US government officials, Members of the British Parliament, faith leaders, academics, advocacy and humanitarian organizations, and both Sudanese and South Sudanese.
Since December 15, 2013, when violence broke out in South Sudan that evolved into conflict between the government and opposition forces led by Dr. Machar, the UN reports that tens of thousands have been killed, raped or wounded. Almost half a million are refugees in neighboring countries and over 1.3 million are internally displaced. Flooding caused by the rainy season has deteriorated already inadequate living conditions, creating an even greater risk for the spread of disease, such as cholera, which has been confirmed in three states. UNICEF reports that 6 million are in need of humanitarian assistance and 4 million are in danger of starvation by year-end without donations by the international community and cooperation for the delivery of aid by the warring parties. Peace talks, led by Africa’s IGAD, have stalled and fighting continues with no end in sight. Last week, the UN Security Council paid an emergency visit to South Sudan and with the support of IGAD, threatened consequences for individuals that undermine peace.
The letter, signed by those who care deeply about South Sudan, reminds the country’s leaders of the vision that inspired the international community to support their struggle for freedom, justice and equality; and it urges these leaders to once again demonstrate the same level of pride, determination and unity that ultimately resulted in the independence of South Sudan. The letter urges South Sudan’s leaders to choose peace “by committing now to participating whole-heartedly in the peace process, enforcing the cease fire agreements, ensuring unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid, and by doing whatever is necessary to put South Sudan back on track as quickly as possible.”
Supporters of peace in South Sudan are encouraged to add their name to the letter through an online petition at change.org, which can be found here.
The full text of the letter and all signatories can be downloaded below.
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