Exact dates for our 15-week peace project in South Sudan have yet to be determined. In the meantime, learn more about the challenges facing the world's youngest country, below, and take a few minutes to watch Emmanuel Jal's impactful video about the struggle for peace in his beloved homeland.
The war between northern and southern Sudan raged from 1983 to 2005. It was one of the longest running civil wars in world history, leaving 2.5 million people dead and four million displaced. The war ended with the signing of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement and, in 2011, South Sudan officially seceded. Sadly, in 2013, another civil war broke out in South Sudan after President Kiir accused his former deputy, Riek Machar, and ten others of attempting a coup d'état.
In January 2014, the first ceasefire agreement was reached. However, fighting continued and several more failed ceasefire agreements followed. In August 2015, the Compromise Peace Agreement was signed and, in 2016, Machar returned to Juba as First Vice President. Following a second breakout of fighting within Juba, Kiir replaced Machar with Taban Deng Gai, and rebel in-fighting became a major part of the conflict. Finally, in August 2018, another power sharing agreement came into effect, and on 22 February 2020, Kiir and Machar formed a coalition government.
By that time, the ongoing conflicts that pitted South Sudanese brother against brother had claimed over 400,000 lives. In addition, more than four million people were displaced and the number of those starving soared to six million. Now South Sudan finds itself on the brink of famine. Truly, the time has come for the people of South Sudan to choose between peaceful coexistence or extinction.
As participants ponder this choice and are tempted to point fingers at other ethnic groups, they will be asked to consider a report published by the United Nations in October 2020. In the report, the UN accuses South Sudan’s government of staging cattle raids so that groups will seek revenge against each other. Why would the government do such a thing? And why are the people of South Sudan starving when oil has produced over $8 billion USD in revenue since the peace treaty was signed? These and other questions will be explored during Week 1 of the South Sudan Peace Project.