As the newest nation in the world, the Republic of South Sudan (RoSS) is undertaking the monumental task of building a nation state. Creating a functioning government would be an epic challenge for any country, but it is even greater for RoSS because it is faced with millions of displaced people, internal and external conflict, widespread food insecurity, a stagnant economy, and a population that includes dozens of tribes, ethnicities, indigenous communities and identities. The situation is further complicated by the internal conflict that re-ignited in South Sudan following the decades-long civil war. During the war, southerners were pitted against a common enemy in Khartoum. Now, absent that enemy, competing tribal and ethnic interests are fueling internal conflict, such as in Jonglei state. To ensure the successful transition of RoSS to a functioning nation, an identity must emerge that trumps all these competing interests. Citizenship should be based on place of birth or familial origin without any regard to the person’s color, faith, tribe, ethnicity, or other attribute.
The Republic of South Sudan (RoSS) is going through a major displacement crisis. The country is playing host to tens of thousands of refugees who fled fighting in Sudan’s Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile States. In addition to this, hundreds of thousands of people are displaced due to violence within South Sudan itself. The country also has to contend with a large influx of southerners returning from northern cities. This crisis could soon become overwhelming for the world’s newest country – a country already struggling to deliver security and basic services to its citizens. If this displacement crisis is not adequately addressed, all the positive efforts now being made to incorporate returnees into the social, political, and economic fabric of South Sudan will be short lived.
Before the excitement around the emergence of the world’s newest nation
fades, outstanding issues from the Comprehensive Peace Agreement must be
resolved. Hundreds of thousands of people are returning south and
desperately require support to rebuild their lives and communities. The
rights of minority groups on either side of the border need to be
As the January 9 referenda in south Sudan and Abyei approach, so does the possibility for violence and humanitarian crises. The United Nations has mapped out potential flashpoints for conflict and drawn up detailed contingency plans, but many critical challenges remain unresolved. With less than a month remaining until the referenda, agencies lack sufficient staffing, humanitarian access has become a growing issue, a coordinated response to gender-based violence has yet to be developed, and a systematic plan to protect minority communities and returnees has not been finalized. These issues must be resolved immediately in order to effectively protect and assist the Sudanese people if a large-scale crisis emerges.
Sudan is preparing to hold a referendum on southern independence in
January 2011 as mandated by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
Indications suggest that the vote will be overwhelmingly in favor of
separation. Although an explosion of full scale north-south war is not
inevitable, the risk of new outbreaks of conflict in hotspot areas is
all too real. If the south separates, southerners in the north and
northerners in the south will be especially vulnerable to violence and
loss of citizenship resulting in statelessness. The parties to the CPA,
international donor governments and the United Nations must place
urgent priority on preventing and responding to possible abuses.
Five years after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) southern Sudan remains highly volatile, with longstanding tribal tensions, competition for land, and new economic competition fueling south-south violence that has resulted in 450 deaths and the displacement of 40,000 people this year alone. Just nine months from the planned referendum for southern independence, the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) remains weak, and its army and police remain incapable of maintaining stability and protecting civilians. In this context, the UN peacekeeping mission, UNMIS, must develop and implement a clear mission-wide protection plan that incorporates all the relevant civilian, military, and policing units within the mission.
The next two years will be critical in determining Sudan’s future. The
country faces national elections in April, the first multi-party
elections in 24 years, and a referendum on southern independence in
January 2011. While the U.S. and others must do everything possible to
ensure that the governments in north and south Sudan reach agreement on
outstanding issues before the referendum, the humanitarian community
must simultaneously prepare to respond if conflict erupts around the
upcoming political events. Decades of responding to crises in Sudan has
created a complacent “business as usual” attitude among some
humanitarian agencies and donors that must be overcome.
International engagement is urgently needed to rescue south Sudan from
the brink of an unfolding crisis. The perilous situation is being
ignored amid the focus on the indictment of President Al-Bashir by the
International Criminal Court.
Sudan is entering a volatile period in the implementation of the
Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The risk of violent outbreaks is acute.
The UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) was deployed with a mandate to observe
and monitor CPA implementation, and is therefore both ill-equipped and
ill-disposed to engage in civilian protection efforts.
To promote peace and stability in the region, donors should provide
increased funding to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) so that Sudanese
refugees who wish to return home from Uganda can do so safely,
voluntarily, and in dignity. Assistance
will also be needed for those who wish to integrate locally. At the
same time, the threat of new violence in south Sudan requires ongoing
space for refugees to seek asylum in Uganda. This will be enhanced by
ensuring that former refugee settlement areas are rehabilitated and
handed over to the local authorities in good condition.
Malgré la présence d’une force militaire de l’Union européenne à l’est
du Tchad, des mouvements rebelles, la violence intercommunautaire, des
attaques transfrontalières et le banditisme sont endémiques. Les civils et le personnel humanitaire sont régulièrement attaqués et
une insécurité continuelle entrave la distribution de l’aide
humanitaire. Pour augmenter la stabilité au Tchad, le Conseil de
sécurité des Nations Unies doit renforcer la mission de maintien de
l’ordre de l’ONU (MINURCAT), augmenter les efforts pour la réforme du
secteur de la justice et donner la possibilité au responsable civil de
la mission de l’ONU de s’engager dans des efforts politiques en vue de
la stabilisation et de la réconciliation.
Les agences d’aide internationale et les pays donateurs devraient
développer des stratégies pour promouvoir des solutions durables pour
les personnes déplacées internes (PDI) dans l’est du Tchad et pour
diminuer la dépendance des réfugiés soudanais à l’assistance
Despite the presence of a European Union military force in eastern
Chad, rebel movements, inter-communal violence, cross border attacks
and banditry are rampant. Civilians and humanitarian staff are
routinely attacked and ongoing insecurity is hampering the delivery of
humanitarian aid. To increase stability in Chad, the United Nations
Security Council must strengthen the UN policing mission (MINURCAT),
increase efforts for justice sector reform and give the civilian head
of the UN mission the ability to engage in political efforts towards
stabilization and reconciliation.
International aid agencies and donor
governments should develop strategies to promote durable solutions for
internally displaced people (IDPs) in eastern Chad and to decrease
Sudanese refugees’ dependence on outside assistance.
Three years after the signature of the
Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the Government of Sudan and
the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A), adequate access
to basic services and creation of sustainable livelihoods remain
elusive for most Sudanese people. Since 2004, an estimated 2 million
southern Sudanese, either exiled in neighbouring countries or displaced
within Sudan, have returned home, with more than 90% having done so
spontaneously. Only a fraction has received adequate assistance.
Progress in the implementation of the
January 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed by the
Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army can
only be consolidated if southern Sudanese in the south start enjoying
tangible peace dividends.
In 2005, after over two decades of civil
war, the Government of Sudan and the Sudanese People’s Liberation
Movement/Army (SPLM/A) signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
But devastated infrastructure, a fragile security environment, political
mistrust, ethno-tribal tensions, and friction over possession of
oil-producing areas have meant that many of the reforms provided for in
the CPA have been slow to materialize.
After years exiled in bordering countries,
or displaced within Sudan, hundreds of thousands of Sudanese people are
returning home to rebuild their lives, but more help is needed for
their reintegration into communities.