Since mid-December, nearly 400,000 people have been displaced by violence that has spread throughout South Sudan. Women and children are particularly vulnerable to the escalating violence and reports show that a disproportionate number of women have been displaced by the fighting. UN officials and aid workers on the ground have reported increasing cases of gender-based violence, including rape. A statement released by a group of South Sudanese women expressed concern for the increased suffering of vulnerable groups, particularly women and children, and have called for a swift end to the ongoing crisis.
Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, the general-secretary of the World YMCA, recently pointed out that while women bear the brunt of the escalating abuses, they are conspicuously absent from the peace talks that have been ongoing in Addis Ababa since January 4, 2014. She highlights that there are no female advisers in the delegations or among the mediators participating in the negotiations. The former Minister for Public Affairs in South Sudan, Josephine Abalang, recently advocated for more inclusive peace talks, saying that women would furnish the dialogue with insightful information about the situation on the ground.
Violence erupted in the capital Juba on December 15, 2013, following what President Salva Kiir describes as an attempted coup led by former Vice President Riek Machar. Fighting between rebels and the government forces has since spread throughout the country and claimed over 1,000 lives. Despite the worsening crisis, negotiations between the warring parties have stalled.