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South Sudanese are yet to enjoy peace dividends – US

Author: Daniel Danis | Published: Thursday, September 17, 2020

An aggrieved South Sudanese elderly woman | Credit | Amnesty International

South Sudanese have yet to see tangible benefits from the political commitments made by their leaders despite the signing of the peace agreement two years ago, the United States says.

September 12 marked the second anniversary of the deal signed in Addis Ababa by President Salva Kiir’s government, SPLM-IO under Dr. Riek Machar and various other opposition parties.

The US notes that the past years have been characterized by widespread violence, sexual and gender-based violence committed with impunity and the abduction of women and children continues unabated.

Aid agencies say more than 1,000 civilians have been killed so far this year alone.

Hunger has reportedly affected an estimated 6 million people in South Sudan with over 157,000 persons displaced since February.

The UN OCHA states that nine humanitarian aid workers have also been killed so far this year.

“Coronavirus pandemic creates additional fiscal and humanitarian needs, intensifying challenges for those seeking to govern effectively in South Sudan,” it affirmed.

More UN reports indicate that South Sudan remains among the direst in the world because of ongoing conflict and violence in the country.

According to the United States, these conditions will continue to be the case until South Sudan’s leaders fully embrace the letter and spirit of their own peace agreement.

Rodney Hunter, the political coordinator of the U.S. Mission to the UN, mentioned that South Sudanese do not believe that peace has come to the country because women are still afraid to collect firewood without fear of violence

“South Sudan’s people have yet to see tangible benefits from the political commitments made by their leaders,” he stressed.

Last year, women in Malakal told a visiting delegation from the UN that they will believe peace has come when they can provide enough food for their family so that their children could go to school and not be hungry.

Mr. Hunter said the majority of the population will only feel comfortable if former soldiers from the different warring parties can walk side-by-side and work together to protect the people.

“Now, however, is the time for South Sudan’s leadership to redouble efforts to accelerate the implementation of their own peace agreement and to deliver stability and security for the [South] Sudanese people,” Hunter said during a briefing on South Sudan on Wednesday.

He called on the transitional government to deliver stability and security for the people.

The diplomat urged President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar to undertake immediate reforms and make meaningful investments in the peace agreement.

The United States believes that South Sudan will start to experience increased stability, security, and prosperity if its leaders can put aside differences, and to accelerate the implementation of the peace agreement.

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