Slow implementation of the peace agreement in South Sudan

Kids playing football on a street in Juba Kids playing football on a street in Juba Photo by vlad_karavaev on iStock

03 March 2021

South Sudan’s transition to peace is underway, but the fragile peace needs to be pushed forward by the international community

In his last briefing to the Security Council of the United Nations (UN), David Shearer, the outgoing UN Special Representative to South Sudan, and head of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), called upon the international community to strengthen its commitment to securing peace and prosperity in the country. 

After gaining independence from Sudan in July 2011, a bloody civil war broke out in December 2013 between the governmental forces of President Salva Kiir and the opposition ones supporting the Vice President Riek Machar, accused by the former of attempting a coup. After five years of civil war, in August 2018, definitive peace agreements and a ceasefire were signed. The Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan has been the landmark of the peace-building process in the country. However, as underlined by David Shearer, despite having marked the one-year anniversary of the establishment of the transitional government, the country continues to be exposed to internal divisions, such as violence by community militias opposed to government forces, which are considerably slowing down the transition to peace.The five-years-old conflict caused 383,000 people dead and led to the displacement of 1,76 million civilians, according to the UN High Commission for Refugees.  

The slow implementation of the peace agreement is endangering the success of the peace-building efforts, by facilitating exploitation of local tensions and fueling new violence. In light of the fragile situation, the Special Representative has called on the international community and the South Sudanese Government not to sit on the sidelines, but to commit themselves to advancing the peace process, and to guaranteeing a fair distribution of the country’s wealth among its people by ensuring the political elite’s accountability for public spending.


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Author: Carla Leonetti; Editor: Francesca Mencuccini

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