Peace talks in South Sudan are not expected to resume on October 16th, despite an earlier announcement from mediators. Recent talks came to a standstill on October 5th after disagreement on the roles and responsibilities of the newly created Prime Minister post.
The world’s youngest nation has been in a state of conflict since mid-December 2013. A recent week-long visit by the UN Secretary Generals’ Special Envoy on Sexual Violence revealed the horrific situation civilians currently face. Sexual violence is occurring on an alarming scale with United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Hawa Bangura, stating, “[w]hat I witnessed in Bentiu is the worst I have seen in my almost 30 years in dealing with this issue.” All parties to the conflict are perpetrating this violence and it is estimated that up to 24,000 women in South Sudan are now at risk of sexual violence.
More than 10,000 lives have been lost and 1.8 million individuals have been forced to flee their homes due to this 10-month conflict. A cessation of hostilities agreement was signed for South Sudan in January, 2014, but has been violated repeatedly. At the earliest, peace talks are expected to resume October 20th, 2014. Bangura said the women she met in South Sudan have a simple message for leaders on both side of the conflict: “enough is enough, we want peace… sign that agreement and keep to it because we want to go back home.”
Read the UN news report about the envoy’s visit to South Sudan.
Read about further consequences of the conflict.
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