JUBA (HAN) July 7.2016. Public Diplomacy & Regional Security News.The British charity, Oxfam has urged all signatories to South Sudan’s peace deal, which ended nearly two years of war, to prevent it from weakening.
- “South Sudan’s fragile peace must be protected. This country needs investment: in its people, its economy and its future,” said Oxfam’s country director, Zlatko Gegic.
Over two months since the country formed a Transitional National Unity Government, the young nation faces enormous challenge, with its economy now at its weakest.
Food and fuel prices remain high, coupled with the scarcity of hard currencies in a country, largely dependent on oil.
According to Oxfam, the transitional government and the international community need to focus on ensuring the provisions of the peace agreement are upheld, particularly commitments to economic reform and to ensuring that ordinary citizens can engage in the political process and have their concerns taken into account.
“The transitional government and international community must learn from the past and listen to South Sudan’s citizens at every step in this transitional period,” said Gegic.
“As guarantors of peace, the international community must protect the ability of ordinary people to participate in this process and take swift action if this is threatened,” he added.
Tens of thousands of people were killed in South Sudan’s conflict, which broke out in December 2013 and more than 2.5 million people have been forced from their homes. The conflict also disrupted planting and harvests, forcing people to increasingly rely on aid and diminishing markets.
Despite the signing of the peace deal in late 2015, the situation in the country remains fragile. Violence continues in multiple locations, spreading to previously stable areas.
“But a peaceful South Sudan cannot be built without solid foundations. South Sudan’s economy is in crisis. Without economic reform, its people will continue to suffer and the fragile peace process will be jeopardized,” said Gegic.
“This transitional period offers the government of South Sudan an opportunity to change this direction. The international community must support South Sudan through this critical process,” he further stressed.
An estimated 4.8 million South Sudanese, aid agencies say, could severe food insecurity due to the ongoing violence.
Since the start of the crisis, Oxfam has reportedly supported nearly 860,000 people with humanitarian assistance, and over 350,000 with long term development and support.