News / Africa

'Blunt Instrument' or 'Good Step?' South Sudanese React to US Sanctions

Sanctions against anyone who foments violence or blocks the peace process in South Sudan, announced last week by President Barack Obama, were discussed at a conference in New York on Saturday, April 5, 2014.
Sanctions against anyone who foments violence or blocks the peace process in South Sudan, announced last week by President Barack Obama, were discussed at a conference in New York on Saturday, April 5, 2014.
Karin ZeitvogelJohn Tanza
Sanctions authorized last week by President Barack Obama against anyone found to be fomenting violence in South Sudan or blocking the peace process were a hot topic at a New York conference held at the weekend on the crisis in the young country.

South Sudan in Focus attended the conference, organized by Amir Idris, the chair of the Department of African and African American Studies at Fordham University, and gathered reactions from South Sudanese expatriates to the sanctions. The sanctions  have not yet been implemented, the U.S. State Department said on Tuesday.

Here are some of the main comments from attendees at the conference. Add your own reactions in the comments section below.
Sarah Cleto Rial, South Sudanese women's rights activist, shown here at a conference on South Sudan at Fordham University in New York, April 5, 2014Sarah Cleto Rial, South Sudanese women's rights activist, shown here at a conference on South Sudan at Fordham University in New York, April 5, 2014
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Sarah Cleto Rial, South Sudanese women's rights activist, shown here at a conference on South Sudan at Fordham University in New York, April 5, 2014
Sarah Cleto Rial, South Sudanese women's rights activist, shown here at a conference on South Sudan at Fordham University in New York, April 5, 2014

 
"A lot of people suggest that it is about time that world leaders -- from Europe, from the United States, from Africa -- spoke up against the absurdity of this war."

“I feel like our government needed this pressure a long time ago, even before the December event, because there has been serious corruption going on, serious negligence to the people.”
 
- Sarah Cleto Rial, women's rights activist, program director at My Sister's Keeper, 2010 recipient of Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award
 
"A lot of people suggest that it is about time that world leaders -- from Europe, from the United States, from Africa -- spoke up against the absurdity of this war."

"Perhaps the sanctions will spur the government of Juba to give a more meaningful commitment to the peace talks. Or, it could drive them towards rogue behavior or towards alliances with Khartoum, with Bashir, a country already under U.S. sanctions -- and the sanctions haven't caused it to collapse, as it was hoped they would do. The lack of historical evidence that sanctions work might cause... the leaders in Juba to simply turn away, and in that way, the United States will have denied itself the ability to exercise the leverage, the clout it has over South Sudan."

- Jok Madut Jok, history professor at Loyola Marymount University, California; executive director and co-founder of Sudd Institute think tank, Juba; former undersecretary at South Sudanese Ministry of Culture 
 
"Sanctions are blunt instruments. They are not selective enough to avoid people for whom they are not intended and hurt people who are innocent. So the last thing we want is a sanction."
- David Bassiouni, career diplomat, businessman 
 
"I think it's going to have an enormous impact on the government and the opposition. Both of them will begin to rethink their positions and take the peace talks more seriously. But also it will have an impact on the people of South Sudan. They reacted positively to the signing of the executive order by President Obama." 
 
- Amir Idris, chair of Department of African and African American Studies, Fordham University, New York 
 
Dr. David Bassiouni, career diplomat and businessman, takes notes at a conference on South Sudan at Fordham University in New York, April 5, 2014Dr. David Bassiouni, career diplomat and businessman, takes notes at a conference on South Sudan at Fordham University in New York, April 5, 2014
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Dr. David Bassiouni, career diplomat and businessman, takes notes at a conference on South Sudan at Fordham University in New York, April 5, 2014
Dr. David Bassiouni, career diplomat and businessman, takes notes at a conference on South Sudan at Fordham University in New York, April 5, 2014

"If the sanctions are implemented, I think they will have an impact on the leaders. The good thing is... (President Obama) didn't order blank sanctions for the whole of South Sudan. He targeted participants in the current conflict and those who abused human rights. If they're implemented effectively, I think they'll work for the better of the majority of South Sudanese... "
- Jane Kani Edward, clinical assistant professor and director of African Immigration Research, Department of African and African American Studies, Fordham University
 
 
“The sanctions, for ordinary people, it’s nothing for them. But for the officials, those who are in the government, when they see the sanctions, maybe they will change their minds and work for peace.”
- William Atilo, community organizer from U.S. southwestern state of Texas 
 

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Comments
     
by: George okibok from: Juba
April 10, 2014 10:02 AM
We have politicises in southsudan dones't understand what is sanction. Simpling becuase no one been brought to book for all this 9 years of corruption. nation without people. We need pace we need pace no for war we are all southsudaness stop bloodshiet our peopl are dirty of pace
In Response

by: Daniel Wuor Joak from: Oslo, Norway
April 10, 2014 10:50 PM
The sanction being imposed by US President Barack Obama through the signing of "Executive Order" against the South Sudanese warring parties involved directly in the conflict is absolutely correct and appreciative by all South Sudanese and their well-wishers all over the world. But this sanction should not be limited only to South Sudanese warring parties, President Yoweri Museveni and his UPDF war-monger Generals as well as Sudanese Opposition leaders from JEM & SPLA-N who sadly participated in killings our innocent people in their thousands on behalf of that tyranny government of President Kiir must be involved in the sanction. The ongoing war is dragging on because of involvements of foreign mercenaries from UPDF, JEM & SLPA-N who are participating on the side of South Sudan government. Without their involvements in the sanction an immediate solution would be hard to realize in ending the war in the country. The sanction should therefore not be limited to individuals as suggested by the US President in his "Executive Order" but oil embargo and arms shipments must be included against the warring parties as well. Daniel Wuor Joak - Former MP & Minister of Education, Science & Technology in UNS. He is also a human rights activist based currently in Norway.

by: Bol from: Bor
April 10, 2014 6:38 AM
The VOA only wants to publish the comments that appease their evils they are doing to South Sudanese peoples and that is the democracy or freedom of speech that these evils often want to lecture other peoples about!

I posted a comment some hours ago, but some clones are sitting on it because it doesn't further their evils. what an evil white man wanted posted on their evil VOA propaganda machine. A white man will never be wanted in South Sudan. The US game of killing innocent peoples by its proxy wars just because the US want their resources has gone too far and it must be resisted by all means.

Though the US and Europeans dirty games of divide and rule, work in other countries in Africa; i don't think, it will work in South Sudan that much that South Sudanese peoples, will take the white man intrigues at a face value. Apparently, the EU is alleged to have send it troops to central Africa republic C.A.R, as peace keepers! Good luck to C.A.R though, you always love being slaved to France and not to get your own sticks to defend your country and your peoples.

by: Bol from: Bor
April 10, 2014 2:22 AM
US sanctions or no sanctions, even to every South Sudanese, many South Sudanese have come to believe that the US is the greatest monster both covertly and overtly behind this war against South Sudanese people.

An arsonist can't be a fireman at the same time. The us stoked this fire to kill, destroy innocent people properties, injured people and now the same US thinks that South Sudanese peoples are the US fools to play around.

The proxy war the US is playing against China by killing South Sudanese isn't going to sit well with South Sudanese people who know very clearly the devil behind this war killing our peoples.

Proxy war or no proxy war, sanctions or no sanctions; China is not going anywhere in South Sudan.

South Sudan is not a US colony and South Sudanese peoples are not the US subjects. South Sudanese people are free thinking peoples and anyone who thinks that those laughable sanctions will change anything on the side of the government of South Sudan on the way it is dealing with Riek Machar tribal armed rebellion is just dreaming.




by: Letigo from: Juba
April 10, 2014 2:05 AM
These ministers and generals including the unpopular president now swindle dollars direct from the central bank and keep at home; even if their fat accounts are frozen, they still have access to dollars even more as long as they remain in the government! the only solution is to force Kiir out to pave way for a transitional government.

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