Since the Republic of South Sudan gained independence from Republic of the Sudan in 2011, internal violence and turmoil have continued unchecked. A skirmish in 2012 between the two Sudans over the oil field in Heglig roused international attention, but was ultimately a minor dispute in comparison to the ongoing South Sudanese Civil War which broke out in December 2013. Though peace talks have been underway since August of 2014, strife still rages through the young nation. After two failed attempts at a ceasefire the chances of warring parties reaching a peace agreement in the Addis Ababa talks remains bleak. Since last year, more than 10,000 people have been killed and more than 1,000, 000 have been displaced. The death toll, which is still rising rapidly, extends beyond the Sudan People’s Liberation Army loyalists and their rebel opponents to include many thousands of civilians. The human rights situation in South Sudan remains deplorable, as evidenced by the recent Bentiu massacre and the UN Bor base attack.
This region will continue to be a major focus for STAND Canada as the country faces an election in the coming year. More changes risk destabilizing the troubled environment further which, in turn, adversely affects neighbouring countries, as well as the international political economy which is closely linked to South Sudan’s abundant natural resources. With the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) underway and heavily threatened, the country will be closely monitored by the international community. And, with Canada as one of the many stakeholders of the UNMISS campaign the policy recommendations that STAND creates will play a role in shaping the future of this young nation.