One Year Later, World’s Newest Country Faces Atrocities
Tuesday marked the one-year anniversary of the referendum that established South Sudan’s independence. It was a historical day when 98.8% of South Sudanese voters elected to secede from the North. The referendum was part of a 2005 comprehensive peace agreement facilitated by international mediators and United States diplomats between the government of Sudan and a southern-based rebel group. The results of the referendum offered the hope that the formation of two autonomous nations would mitigate the vestiges of a two-decades-long conflict that had resulted in millions of deaths.
The celebration of the anniversary, however, is tarnished by the reality that the nascent country still faces violence. Omar al-Bashir, president of Sudan, has overseen attacks on civilians in the new state, and inter-ethnic conflict rages in South Sudan.
The United States and the international community must lead the way in stopping this humanitarian crisis from escalating even further. Only with insistent American leadership, international solidarity, and grassroots advocacy can we live up to our vow, “Never again.”
Photo courtesy of govinthelab.com