South Sudan (2013 – present)
“The Cost of War report offered an insightful and sobering assessment of the economic implications of continued conflict in South Sudan, thus providing impetus for renewed action by policymakers to promote peace.” Dr Abdalla Hamdok, Deputy Executive Secretary at the United Nations Economic Commission (UNECA)
Since the outbreak of civil war in December 2013, Crisis Action has led a coordinated response that focuses on securing peace in the country, protecting civilians and ending the culture of impunity that has resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of lives and the displacement of 2.3 million people from their homes. We have engaged in high-impact collaborative work to spur decisive actions within the African Union, the United Nations and the European Union.
Crisis Action has worked with partners to formulate and deliver joint advocacy to:
- Push decision-makers to demand that the South Sudanese government lift restrictions and halt attacks on local and international civil society organizations in order to allow them to engage fully in the peace process and provide support to civilians;
- Press the AU to take the necessary steps to set up a judicial court that will hold perpetrators of human rights abuses to account;
- Prompt the UN Security Council to improve the mandate of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), specifically on the protection of civilians, and to impose an arms embargo and targeted sanctions against peace spoilers;
In order to galvanize the international community to end the conflict, Crisis Action partnered with influential African think-tanks to launch a groundbreaking report in January 2015, South Sudan: The Cost of War, which highlighted for the first time the financial costs of war for South Sudan and the wider region. The report was widely cited in global media outlets and garnered praise from high-level policymakers in African and Western capitals. This initiative capitalized on the frustrations of governments over the failure of the warring parties to commit to a ceasefire agreement, leading to stronger measures such as the UN Security Council’s establishment of a sanctions regime for South Sudan.
Crisis Action has sought out international engagement from the greater region and key players in the continent. To that end, Crisis Action focused on harnessing South Africa’s uniquely influential role in tackling the crisis by organizing a delegation of South Sudanese activists to conduct a series of advocacy meetings with South African officials and civil society organisations. As a result of our work, new partnerships and lines of communication were forged between South Sudanese and South African civil society organizations.
Building off the release of the AU’s Commission of Inquiry report on South Sudan, Crisis Action’s longstanding focus on accountability came to a head during the AU Summit in January 2016 when we sent a delegation of South Sudanese and pan-African civil society activists to call on the AU to increase its engagement in the establishment of a judicial court to try human rights transgressors. The dissemination of a policy brief, The Way Forward, reinforced this call by providing clear recommendations for the AU’s role in supporting the peace process. Since then, calls for the creation of this court have been taken on by the AU, which has been preparing concrete proposals for its establishment.