South Sudan (2013 – present)
“South Sudanese civil society has inordinately begun to tilt the scales away from armed men determining the trajectory of the country, rather tilting things towards the interests of the suffering masses or ordinary citizens. Crisis Action has been a critical part of helping us gain that capacity especially through mobilising new allies to work alongside us in the hard struggle towards peace in South Sudan”. Koiti Emmily
Since the outbreak of civil war in December 2013, it has claimed tens of thousands of lives and caused the displacement of 2.4 million people from their homes. South Sudanese are enduring economic collapse, near-famine, and ethnic-based killing. Sexual- and gender-based violence is happening at unprecedented levels.
Crisis Action has invested in a coordinated response that focuses on securing peace in the country, protecting civilians and ending the impunity with which the conflict is waged. 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:
- Help South Sudanese civil society inspire and shape a revitalised peace process to reflect their demands which are an inclusive peace process that addresses the security and leadership challenges that undermined the 2015 peace agreement;
- Provide powerful platforms for South Sudanese youth and women to compel the African Union and United Nations to support the peace process through their diplomatic weight and concrete steps such as sanctions and an arms embargo;
- Increase pressure for South Sudan’s neighbours to play a constructive role for peace, by exposing those in the region who benefit from and facilitate the illicit financial flows that fuel the conflict.
Supporting South Sudanese civil society to shape a more peaceful future
As the peace agreement of 2015 lay in tatters, new urgency was needed from South Sudan’s neighbours, who hold the key to compelling the parties to agree to a sustainable and just peace. This urgency was sparked by a delegation of South Sudanese peace activists that Crisis Action supported to meet policymakers in Addis Ababa in April 2017. It was followed by a campaign targeting key African Heads of States and Governments both through social media and private messaging sent directly to them. This helped inspire a revitalised peace process – and Crisis Action supported this process to ensure it reflected the demands of South Sudanese civil society.
The voices of women and youth were too often ignored in efforts to secure peace in South Sudan. Working with our partners, we set about to change that because these groups have immense potential to shape the peace talks and a peaceful South Sudan. As a result of our efforts, civil society leaders were party to the negotiations including women and youth leaders establishing them as a constituency not to be ignored any longer.
Following the efforts of the coalition Crisis Action brought together over 200 civil society organisations comprising of women, youth and peace activists, have formed the South Sudan Civil Society Forum, which has become an important and decisive voice in the peace talks. With our continued support, this newly united civil society voice helped secure Cessation of Hostilities Agreement that took specific account of the gendered impact of the conflict. Further to this, the women’s groups have also formed a South Sudan Women’s Coalition. These platforms have enabled consensus building and collective action among the civil society actors of South Sudan.
Exposing the economic interests that drive the violence
In order to galvanize the international community to back the efforts of civil society to end the conflict, Crisis Action partnered with influential African think-tanks to launch a ground breaking 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. Since then Crisis Action has continued its work to expose beneficiaries of the war and the illicit financial flows behind this.
Crisis Action helped our partners to push for punitive measures against spoilers of peace at the UN, EU and AU and there is growing momentum for AU and UN sanctions and continued calls for an arms embargo.