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Part of the agreement includes opening corridors for desperately needed humanitarian aid
JUBA, South Sudan (June 29, 2018) — The global humanitarian organization CARE is encouraged by the ceasefire announced this week by warring factions in the world’s youngest country, South Sudan, particularly the portion of the agreement calling for opening up corridors of humanitarian aid. The ceasefire is due to begin June 30, and the parties are committed to finalizing four outstanding issues in the security arrangements by that point.
“We are hopeful that this ceasefire will lead to lasting peace in a country whose brief history has been plagued by sustained violence and the suffering of so many innocent people, particularly the women and girls who have borne the brunt of this crisis,” said Rosalind Crowther, CARE’s country director in South Sudan. “Opening channels to deliver much-needed aid will allow CARE to reach more families, by delivering food, supporting survivors of sexual violence and helping those who have been forced from their homes.”
South Sudan gained its independence in 2011. Fighting broke out two years later and has since gripped the South Sudanese people, forcing more than 4 million of them — one-third of the population — from their homes: Approximately 1.8 million people are displaced within the country and another 2.4 million are living as refugees in neighboring countries such as Uganda, Sudan and Ethiopia. Previous ceasefires have failed, with renewed fighting having only intensified the need for humanitarian aid.
CARE also welcomed the June 28 comments by Bintou Keita, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations to the UN Security Council, on the situation in South Sudan: “Peace will only be sustained if the revitalized agreement is inclusive, fair, addresses the root causes of the conflict and engages all stakeholders, including women and youth.” CARE also adds its voice to the Assistant Secretary-General’s warning to the UN Security Council that the 15-member body must give its constant support and engagement to ensure that all stakeholders understand that the international community will support a peaceful South Sudan, and that there will be consequences for those who keep fueling the conflict. Keita added: “While the declaration broadly deals with all the contentious issues, further discussions are needed to iron out details to ensure that this time the parties implement the agreement under an effective implementation mechanism."
Beyond the physical threat from the fighting itself, South Sudan’s civil war also has contributed to the highest level of food insecurity in the country’s history, leaving about half the country’s population in need of food. Disease and an extraordinary lack of food access exacerbate malnutrition among children under the age of 5. For the displaced population, the priority is protection from sexual and physical violence, including the need for safe spaces for children, women and vulnerable people, and psychosocial counselling for trauma.
Having worked in South Sudan (previously southern Sudan) for 25 years, CARE supports affected communities with emergency food assistance, while also providing primary healthcare access for women and children. Other efforts include responding to and preventing gender-based violence and supporting peaceful coexistence between communities in South Sudan.
“The ceasefire is a promising and significant step toward relieving the suffering of so many South Sudanese people, who, while strong and resilient, are at the same time immensely vulnerable,” said Crowther. “We hope that expanded avenues for delivering lifesaving relief will allow CARE and other organizations to extend their humanitarian reach and help families overcome the damage unspeakable violence and hunger have wrought in their lives and communities.”
The Khartoum framework agreement provides the commitment of the warring parties to enforce a permanent ceasefire effective June 30 and to finalize four outstanding issues in the security arrangements within 72 hours following June 27. The agreement also commits to settling the other outstanding issues in the governance chapter of a peace agreement signed in 2015.
Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package®, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside women and girls because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. That’s why women and girls are at the heart of CARE’s community-based efforts to improve education and health, create economic opportunity, respond to emergencies and confront hunger. Last year CARE worked in 93 countries and reached more than 63 million people around the world. Learn more at care.org.