News / Africa

South Sudan Could Collapse, US Rights Groups Warn

South Sudanese Foreign Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin, right, welcomes US Secretary of State John Kerry upon his arrival at Juba International Airport, South Sudan, Friday May 2, 2014. Kerry, landing in the capital Juba on Friday, has threatened U.S.sanctions against South Sudanese leaders.
South Sudanese Foreign Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin, right, welcomes US Secretary of State John Kerry upon his arrival at Juba International Airport, South Sudan, Friday May 2, 2014. Kerry, landing in the capital Juba on Friday, has threatened U.S.sanctions against South Sudanese leaders.
Two leading human rights groups have warned in a letter to top U.S. officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry, that South Sudan could collapse as a nation unless the international community is able to get the country's leaders to end months of bloodshed.

The open letter sent to Kerry, U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice and the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, warns of "pockets of famine and genocidal targeting" in both South Sudan and Sudan, and of "intensifying wars" that are pulling in neighboring states. 

The letter written by Enough Project and Humanity United goes on to lay out steps that the two rights groups say would help to promote accountability, bolster peace and foster democracy in the two countries and the region.

A key step would be to impose targeted sanctions on South Sudanese leaders who block the peace process in the young nation where thousands are believed to have died and more than 1.2 million have fled their homes during more than four months of fighting.

Targeted sanctions for South Sudan were first mooted by the White House last month, but have not yet been imposed.

Going ahead with sanctions could help to increase international influence at the slow-moving peace talks for South Sudan, the letter says.


Sanctions could increase U.S.  influence at peace talks


"The key to increasing international leverage at the peace talks will be for the U.S. to work closely with regional states to freeze or seize assets of senior government and rebel officials implicated in atrocities," it says.
The key to increasing international leverage at the peace talks will be for the U.S. to work closely with regional states to freeze or seize assets of senior government and rebel officials implicated in atrocities.

The Enough Project and Humanity United note in the letter that most South Sudanese elites keep their assets outside the country -- mainly in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, South Africa or Dubai -- and many are dual nationals whose families live in Canada and the United States.

"Seizing houses, freezing accounts, and limiting or ending the travel and residence of family members would quickly alter the landscape," the letter says.

But Sudanese political analyst Magdi el Gizouli says sanctions would not just hurt the  country's leaders.

“Sanctions... also have effects on the general population," he says.

"In Sudan, for instance, they arrested the development of higher education, which made it almost impossible for independent research and scholarship to develop," he says, adding that sanctions would only "estrange the South Sudanese."


US needs to 'recalibrate' South Sudan policy


The letter says Washington has to fundamentally recalibrate its approach to South Sudan if it wants to bring peace to the young country.

Alex de Waal, executive director at the World Peace Foundation, agrees.

“A different formula for peace-making needs to be made that actually does not reward those who took up arms, does not allow them to simply get away with carving up the national cake for their own good, and instead has a much more viable and democratic system of governance and resource allocation," he said.

De Waal said negotiators at peace talks in Addis Ababa need to look at the underlying causes of the crisis in South Sudan, including the lack of democracy in the young nation, under-development, and impunity.
 
“Unless those are front and center in the negotiations, I think they are just going to drag on and on," he said.

South Sudan's peace talks began in January and have achieved little since then, as both sides have repeatedly violated an agreement to end the hostilities.
 
South Sudan's President Salva Kiir, right, chats with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry as he greets Kerry at the President's Office in Juba, South Sudan, Friday, May 2, 2014. Kerry is urging South Sudan's warring government and rebel leaders to uphold aSouth Sudan's President Salva Kiir, right, chats with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry as he greets Kerry at the President's Office in Juba, South Sudan, Friday, May 2, 2014. Kerry is urging South Sudan's warring government and rebel leaders to uphold a
x
South Sudan's President Salva Kiir, right, chats with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry as he greets Kerry at the President's Office in Juba, South Sudan, Friday, May 2, 2014. Kerry is urging South Sudan's warring government and rebel leaders to uphold a
South Sudan's President Salva Kiir, right, chats with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry as he greets Kerry at the President's Office in Juba, South Sudan, Friday, May 2, 2014. Kerry is urging South Sudan's warring government and rebel leaders to uphold a
Kerry met Friday in Juba with South Sudanese President Salva Kiir. The U.S. Secretary of State is trying to convince Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar to meet in Addis Ababa next week for talks.

"This meeting of Riek Machar and President Kiir is critical to the ability to be able to really engage in a serious way as to how the cessation of hostilities agreement will now once and for all really be implemented, and how that can be augmented by the discussions regarding a transition government," Kerry said.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Official Pleased With Ebola Containment Measure

Official says three-day sensitization effort will help reduce infection rate of Ebola disease nationwide More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As the tumult in the Middle East distracts Obama, shifting American focus eastward appears threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid