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International Community should be serious about ending the conflict

By Omuno Mogga Otto

Recently the leader of the Democratic Change Party (DCP) Dr. Lam Akol paid a visit to United States of America. While there, Dr. Lam spoke to Voice of America that the aim of his visit was to meet and seek the support of the U.S. Congress (the lawmakers) so as to rescue South Sudan from collapse.

Dr. Lam said the peace agreement signed in August 2015 was violated by the creation of more states (from ten to thirty-two states), and also lack of commitment to create cantonment sites for the reduction of forces from Juba and other issues according to him, impeded the peace process.

The visit of US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, to South Sudan yesterday where she held talks with the government as a means to press for solution to end the crisis was a positive move though, it seemed the international community particularly the US is not showing a serious diplomatic effort to end the conflict in South Sudan.

The conflict in South Sudan is worse than any other crisis in the world. Just within three and half years since the conflict erupted in December 2013, more than one million South Sudanese have become refugees mainly in Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Ethiopia and Central Africa Republic (CAR).

Also within the country there are thousands Internally Displaced Persons(IDPs) who are sheltering at the United Nations protection of civilians sites (POCs).The conflict has forced the refugees to face a complicated and difficult standard of living, coupled with lack of enough distribution of food in the camps and the rate of malnutrition amongst young children is rising.

The humanitarian situation in South Sudan in recent years has gone very bad.  The focus about the need to give pressure to the warring parties still remains a matter of urgency through a clear dimension. Action from the international community is missing.

Currently South Sudan has a multitude number of UN peace keeping forces. In 2016 after the 2015 peace deal aiming at ending the conflict was violated following renewed clashes in July last year when fighting started at the State House (J-1) in Juba, the UN Security Council passed a resolution endorsing a-4,000 robust Regional Protection Force (RPF) with a strong mandate to help in the protection of civilians mainly Juba, the capital city of the country.

But up to now the commitment to deploy all the contingents of the RPF remains a question where its answers are hanging in the balance of doubt. The reason is simply because up to now the deployment of regional protection forces is not completed. By this time all the RPP contingents should have been present in South Sudan.

Why the International Community is not serious about solving the crisis in South Sudan is something,which must be addressed. Since July this year, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has been visiting different factions both within and outside the country and urging them to lay down their arms and resume peace process under the revitalisation forum.

In a statement published in the New Times a couple of days ago, the Undersecretary-General of the UN for peace keeping operations, Mr. Jean-Pierre Lacroix,offered a warning reflecting that South Sudan is sliding further into chaos with no sign that its antagonists want peace.

The crisis in South Sudan has become like a talk show. The International Community is talking much about the crisis in South Sudan but their action and progressive approach to solve the crisis is very less. They are talking a lot without a clear action and effort to contain the conflict from escalating further.  A good sign of commitment, support and serious help from the rest of the world to pressure the warring parties in South Sudan to stop fighting each other is much needed.

The African Union (AU) or the countries from IGAD block alone can not solve the political crisis in South Sudan. Some of the countries from IGAD are putting their interests in this crisis without considering the sufferings of the people of South Sudan first.  The International Community must help. Their support is very crucial.

Majority of the people are demanding for peace, freedom and justice. If peace fails to prevail in the next one or two years from now, the social, cultural and economic sufferings of the South Sudanese will increase from bad to worse.  More conflict will lead to more problems. More political problems in South Sudan will lead to something called political fragility.

Our crisis can easily be solved if the International Community stand with us without favouring or taking sides with the warring parties. Efforts and pressure by the International Community to end the crisis in the country is very important. The International Community must help South Sudan; otherwise, South Sudan will engulf in a big political trouble if we just talk without engaging and encouraging the warring parties to stop the war. War must end. Peace is the only option if South Sudanese are to stay united.

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