Today, thousands will gather in Juba to celebrate the signing of a peace deal and the hopeful end to a five-year long civil war.
Martin Okumuba, South Sudan Country Director at the International Rescue Committee (IRC), said:
“The IRC is encouraged that warring parties were able to put aside differences and sign a peace deal to end the long-time suffering of the South Sudanese people. Today is a day worth celebrating, but the IRC calls on all parties to remain calm and peaceful. Tensions may be high today, and all those participating in the celebration must exercise caution and restraint.
Despite some violations of the ceasefire, the IRC is encouraged by signs the war in South Sudan may finally be coming to an end. However, the South Sudanese people are still suffering and starving. Most of the population of South Sudan (69%) is facing acute food insecurity with 1.7 million already in emergency conditions (IPC Phase 4) and 47,000 facing imminent catastrophe (IPC Phase 5). These are the consequences of the lasting conflict which has disrupted livelihoods and the economy. The transitional government must make ending hunger in South Sudan an immediate priority to demonstrate that the peace deal will benefit the South Sudanese people, many of whom have been forced to flee their homes and endure unthinkable violence.
The international community must ensure that humanitarian support is increased and delivered, even as resources are channelled to the implementation of the peace process. Donors and Intergovernmental Authority on Development states must hold the South Sudanese transitional government to account if they fail to facilitate a timely and needs-based response.
These efforts will not only serve to address the critical needs of the people of South Sudan including those in or on the brink of famine, but also support the broader peace and reconciliation in the country.
The IRC has been working in South Sudan since 1989 providing life-saving nutrition and healthcare, child and women’s protection, livelihoods and reproductive healthcare to those most affected by the ongoing conflict. We stand ready to work alongside the transitional government to ensure the South Sudanese people no longer go hungry.”Distributed by APO Group on behalf of International Rescue Committee.