Norway, the United Kingdom and United States said in a joint statement on Thursday that the humanitarian and security situation in South Sudan remains dire, following the visit by a Troika delegation to the region.
“The Troika remains appalled by the dire economic, security, human rights, and humanitarian crisis being inflicted on the long-suffering people of South Sudan as a result of the conflict that their political leaders have generated and fueled,” the statement said.
Representatives from the three countries traveled to Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda to support Intergovernmental Authority on Development efforts to convene a high-level revitalization forum to resolve the conflict in South Sudan.
Earlier on Thursday, a U.N. investigative panel warned that the country’s civil war is worsening. Forty-five civilians were killed Tuesday in an attack on a village in the Jonglei region, and the attackers reportedly abducted 60 women and children from the village of Duk Payuel, home to members of the Dinka ethnic group.
The IGAD is an eight-member body created in 1996 that cooperates on agricultural, economic, environmental, security and humanitarian issues in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda. It began consultations on the HLRF in June ” to immediately address and find solution to the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in South Sudan” by opening talks between the government and armed and unarmed opposition groups.
“The Government of South Sudan, in particular, must cease its pursuit of military victory and make good on its promise to end all obstruction of humanitarian assistance. The Troika also calls on the armed opposition to end all military activity and lift any barriers to humanitarian access,” the joint statement said on Thursday.
The conflict in South Sudan
The civil conflict in South Sudan began in December 2013, two years after the country became independent from Sudan, when President Salva Kiir Mayardit accused soldiers loyal to a former Vice President Riek Machar of orchestrating a coup against him. The ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement party split, igniting a civil and ethnic conflict that has displaced more than 2 million people and left at least 50,000 dead, although there is no official death toll.
The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates that 7.5 million people across South Sudan are in need of humanitarian protection and assistance, while the World Food Programme says 4.8 million people will be food insecure during the months of October through December, an increase of 1.4 million from the same time last year.