Three years after South Sudanese citizens voted to separate from Sudan, their young nation is the focus of great concern.
In a hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this week, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, testified:
The United States played a critical role in getting the world’s youngest country on the map. Today, tragically, the world’s youngest country and undoubtedly one of its most fragile democracies is in danger of shattering. The United Nations has reported more than a thousand people have died and over 240,000 have fled their homes including a number of refugees in neighboring countries. Political rivalries have taken on ethnic dimensions, atrocities are being committed, and men, women, and children are caught in the crossfire. This is not the future for which the people of South Sudan voted.
Noting that the immediate need is to stop the violence and get physical aid to those in need, Princeton Lyman, former Special Envoy for Sudan, declared, “The hard task ahead is to develop a new political structure, defining more clearly the democratic rights for all South Sudanese, that lays down the rules of political competition, and which allows for development of stronger political institutions.”
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
Published: January 10, 2014