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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level 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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid