"Not On Our Watch: South Sudan:" Just Another Meaningless Slogan? To many with grave concerns that the brutal civil war in South Sudan is quickly dissolving into a full-scale genocide, "not on our watch," has more less gone on deaf ears, along with the peace agreement of three years ago. There are approximately 1 in 3 people (4.8 million) in near-famine conditions, while 1 in 5 has been forced from their homes. There are 1.6 internally displaced and another million have fled the country. Yei, Leer, Unity State, and the Equatorias in South Sudan are some of the places at greatest risk of increasing devastation at this time. Even in the capital Juba, 80% of the residents have resorted to emergency coping strategies for food.
According to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan, "a steady process of ethnic cleansing is underway in several areas of the country, through starvation, gang rape and the burning of villages. In the wake of the de-facto collapse of the 2015 peace deal, new urgent action is needed to prevent further deterioration in South Sudan's humanitarian, political, economic and security crises." Right now, there is no clear meaningful political process, or infrastructure in which to work, to address the crisis.
A well-informed panel of experts came together at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) on December 8, moderated by Ambassador Princeton Lyman, former special U.N. envoy to Sudan-South Sudan. They discussed the situation in South Sudan including mass atrocities and the looming spectre of genocide, then shared their personal recommendations. Congressman Tom Rooney joined the group later in the program. An article about this "urgent conversation" is available, here, and you can watch the 90-minute video, here.