Africa has, and continues to witness the pinnacle of human suffering.
This statement is not based of some romanticized notions of misery. It is backed by hard measurable facts. Be it the Genocide in Rwanda or the mass abductions in Nigeria, the agony of Africans is not hard to find.
One such country seeking relief from war, violence, and hunger is South Sudan. The world’s youngest country, once a beacon of hope, is now a sum of harrowing images of brutality and the resulting anguish. South Sudanese people have already experienced death and displacement, and they still have a famine to anticipate. A catharsis is possible, though not entirely probable.
The latest wave of violence, resulting from a fierce battle between the forces of President Salva Kiir and his former vice president Riek Machar, has resulted in the death of 10,000 and displacement of over a million. The images of bodies strewn across the dirt have been replaced by homeless women holding their babies under the bare sun.
According to a recent report released by the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS), the UN has “reasonable grounds to believe that the crimes against humanity of murder, rape and other acts of sexual violence, enforced disappearance, and imprisonment have occurred.” The casualties of conflict also include the UNMISS peacekeeping staff.
The international community has expressed solidarity with the South Sudanese population at a supranational and national level. However, it should also accept a fair share of the blame for the violent exacerbation of the political crisis.
Much to the apprehension of some UN officials, the developed countries provided funds to the South Sudanese authorities without a thought as to how those funds would be utilized.
The Guardian reported the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Helen Clark, as saying, “There was a focus from development partners on building a state and service delivery, but without addressing the rather profound legacy of long-term conflict.”
Nevertheless, the real culprit, and the perpetrator of conflict, is the leadership of the country itself. With the continuing efforts of the United Nations and the strong support of the other countries, these war criminals must be brought to justice and soon.