Women and children pulled from schools and hospitals and killed by the roadside, hate propaganda filling the airwaves – Rwanda 20 years ago? This is happening right now in South Sudan, and we have the power to help stop it.
Two men are to blame: President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar.Locked in a bitter power struggle, both are cynically stoking tensions between ethnic groups that have lived peacefully together for decades. Both men have assets and family abroad. If we hit Kiir and Machar where it hurts — their wallets — we can stop this nightmare from spiraling into genocide.
With peace talks slowly resuming, the US and France are calling on the UN Security Council to impose sanctions and deploy more peacekeepers to protect civilians. Russia may try to block action, but even China doesn’t want to see this oil-rich nation slide into chaos. So it’s winnable – if we act fast. Let’s flood key leaders with 1 million voices urging them to pass sanctions and deploy a stronger mission to protect the people of South Sudan:
It’s heartbreaking – and outrageous. More than one million of South Sudan’s eleven million people have fled their homes, tens of thousands have died, the country is facing widespread famine.Yet for months large delegations from both sides have been staying in plush hotels in neighbouring Ethiopia, making little effort and less progress in negotiating for peace.
We can stop this insanity. Sanctions, including asset freezes and travel bans, will directly affect Kiir and Machar’s abilities to access their assets and visit friends and family living abroad. Even if we lose at the Security Council, unilateral sanctions by several countries will have a serious effect.
Bolstering the UN protection force is also key. The UN has, unprecedentedly, opened its own bases to shelter 85,000 civilians fleeing from massacres. But there are less than 9,000 UN troops to cover a country the size of France. One UN base has already been brazenly attacked, and the government is ominously threatening to kick the UN out of the country. We urgently need a much larger, stronger UN mission.
We failed to stop the spiral of violence in Syria 3 years ago, but this conflict is new, and can still be contained. Let’s not fail South Sudan. Sign and share with everyone:
South Sudan is the world’s newest nation, and it was born out of decades of resistance to the genocidal brutality of Sudan’s regime. But like many of our countries that have been around for a long time, there’s a big gap between the leadership and the people. The gap is tragic, because President Salva Kiir was widely thought to be sincerely motivated, but he and Riek Machar seem to have become gripped by escalating anger, fear, and thirst for power. Let’s stand with the South Sudanese people and help them rein in their leaders, to recover the peace that they have suffered so long for.
Jeremy, Mary, Mathias, Jooyea, Sayeeda, Patri, Luis, Ricken and the rest of the Avaaz team.
Preventing Genocide in South Sudan (Daily Beast)
South Sudan’s Warring Leaders Draw Rebuke From UN Rights Chief (The New York Times)
EU warns of ‘genocide’ in South Sudan (The European Voice)
South Sudan: A new depth of horror (The Economist)
South Sudan: Ethnic Killings Spiraling (Human Rights Watch)
Bentiu massacre is game-changer in South Sudan Conflict, says UN official (The Guardian)
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