Two years after the start of the conflict in South Sudan, civilians are paying the price of the warring parties’ failure to implement the peace agreement signed in August, warned Oxfam together with national organisations, South Sudan Women Empowerment Network (SSWEN) and Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO).
Marking the 2-year anniversary of the war, Oxfam and CEPO highlighted that out of 32 key requirements that should have already been implemented as part of the deal only three have been fully accomplished. Fighting continues despite the ceasefire, with civilians being targeted and new battle lines being drawn in less affected areas.
People are still fleeing deadly violence, with over two million forced from their homes - including 184,000 who are still seeking safety in UN bases. 2.4 million people are severely hungry, with 30,000 in Unity State at risk of famine because they are cut off from aid by the fighting.
Zlatko Gegic, Country Director for Oxfam in South Sudan, said: “Four months after the signing of the peace deal, little has changed for the people of South Sudan. Lives have been shattered, leaving many with little or nothing to survive on. Mothers have lost their children while wading through deep swamps in search of safety. The future of South Sudan can no longer be put on hold. It is time for the country’s leaders to play their part, to make this peace deal a reality and bring real change for their people."
Gegic ontinued: “International players must take a firmer stand in ensuring the deal is implemented, including holding responsible those who stand in the way of peace, in order to end this ongoing tragedy and save lives. South Sudan should not be abandoned at this critical time and Oxfam urges donors to provide stronger support to help rebuild the nation and alleviate suffering for those in dire need. If there is further delay in obtainign peace or the if deal breaks down completely, there will be no end to the misery for millions who already have had enough."
Civil society organizations continue to grapple for space to freely participate in the implementation process, faced with frequent intimidation, arrests and even death. South Sudan can only be sewn back together if a wide range of people - including women, youth, civil society and other political parties - have a say in the future of their country.
Paleki Obur, Executive Director for SSWEN in South Sudan, said: "Women in this country have been among the drivers of peace, yet they are often sidelined or completely cut off from important national processes. The more we exclude women as important pieces of the puzzle, the more we delay peace for South Sudan.”
Edmund Yakani, Director of CEPO in South Sudan, said: "As citizens of this country, we all bear the responsibility of bringing peace and stability to South Sudan. People's needs and opinions must be heard and included for everyone to feel part of the process. What has been put down on paper can only be a reality when leaders show the political will to implement the deal and stop subjecting innocent South Sudanese to suffering.”