South Sudan’s One Year Anniversary
Today marks the one year anniversary of South Sudan’s secession from Sudan. Plagued by a bloody civil war lasting nearly two decades and a campaign of ethnic cleansing in Darfur, Sudan found a greater chance for peace after a January 2011 referendum, in which 98.8% of voters voted for the separation of the north and south.
Despite the formal delineation of nations, much turmoil still exists, especially along border regions, where Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir has been launching attacks. Many populations have been targeted for ethnic, racial and political reasons. Certain areas have also been targeted because of a dispute over how to divide the oil wealth in the region: South Sudan produces a majority of the oil, yet most of it is exported through the north. Both countries rely heavily on the revenues from the oil, which accounts for 98% of South Sudan’s budget, and this dispute could lead to a relapse in violence.
The people of the fledgling state have shown tenacity today by celebrating their independence with dancing, waving flags and parading the military. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and a number of African leaders are expected to be in attendance at a celebratory ceremony, although no Sudanese leaders from the north are expected to be among the guests.
As a new year unfolds for Sudan and South Sudan, it is our hope that peace and reconciliation can be achieved. Help fight for peace and stability in the region by urging your member of congress to support the Sudan Peace, Security and Accountability Act, and stand with George Clooney and Rabbi Saperstein in support of human rights.