February Quarterly Update
Helping South Sudanese civil society see China as a target for their advocacy work
Crisis Action’s strategy on China focuses on challenging China to take a more assertive posture in helping South Sudan resolve the outstanding security arrangements hindering the effectiveness of the Revitalised Transitional Government of National Unity (RTGoNU). Despite the establishment of the RTGoNU in February 2020, continued disputes and disagreements among the political elite and violence from rebel groups in different parts of the country continue, perpetuating a humanitarian crisis that is exacerbated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As the implementation of the agreement stagnates, and the devastating effects on civilians continue, there is growing fear of renewed armed conflict in the country.
In November, we supported our partners, the South Sudanese Civil Society Forum (a coalition of NGOs and activists including women and youth leaders) to share their concerns and recommendations with the People’s Republic of China on the redesignation of the Protection of Civilian (PoC) sites as Internal Displacement Camps, moving control from the UN to the government of South Sudan. This is an important move as civil society advocacy efforts have previously been focused primarily on Western actors.
Crisis Action supported the SSCSF by:
- Helping coordinate civil society consultations on key concerns and recommendations.
- Helping with the drafts of the letter, ensuring it well informs China of civilian concerns and includes recommendations and the key ask that China champions these issues in the UN.
Future plans: enhancing regional voices on China’s role in Africa
We are looking to work with partners to impress on China the value they could add should they take a more active role in support of the peace process. Our strategy involves three complementary tracks: (1) At the end of March, we will bring together senior diplomats, policymakers and leading Horn of Africa scholars to spur a conversation on the role China can play in reinvigorating the peace process in South Sudan. (2) We plan to work with the Horn International Institute for Strategic Studies to get regional journalists more critically engaged on the issue of China’s role in Africa, including by providing training/structural support and creating an award for the best reporting on the issue. (3) We are identifying partners who can help us to amplify the voices of South Sudanese children, with the aim to tell the story of the costs of war on everyday people and to encourage external countries, particularly China, to play a positive role in securing peace and stability in South Sudan.