The United States congratulated South Sudan on eleven years of independence Sunday as Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken reaffirmed the American commitment to working with the South Sudanese government in the hopes of promoting democracy and stability throughout the young African nation.
“The United States stands with the people of South Sudan. We are committed to working with the transitional government, a free and open civil society, and regional and international partners to create a pathway towards a democratic future,” said a Friday statement from Secretary Blinken.
Sunday marks 11 years since South Sudan formally seceded from Sudan following the overwhelming passage of a 2011 independence referendum. In its short history as a sovereign nation, South Sudan has not fully known peace. Shortly after gaining independence, the young nation erupted into a bloody civil war. Despite the signing of a peace treaty in 2018, widespread violence, conflict, and human rights abuses continue to take place today.
“We support the efforts of the South Sudanese people to build lasting peace and create a society marked by dignity, opportunity, and prosperity. We continue to urge South Sudan’s leaders to realize their people’s aspirations and take concrete steps to build a unified security service that respects human rights; to establish accountable and transparent economic management; and to create strong, democratic institutions and a conducive environment to support free, fair, and credible elections,” continued Blinken.
In 2022, South Sudan received a total freedom score from Freedom House of just 1 out of 100, tying with Syria as the least free nations in the entire world. The organization reports that South Sudan’s repressive government has presided over “rampant corruption, economic collapse, and atrocities against civilians, journalists, and aid workers.
South Sudan ranks as the least peaceful nation in Africa and the 5th least peaceful nation in the world, according to Vision of Humanity’s 2022 global peace index.
The index assigns scores to countries based on 23 quantitative and qualitative indicators that evaluate their level of societal safety and security, their extent of ongoing domestic and international conflict, and their degree of militarisation.
South Sudan received very poor scores in most areas including organized conflict, homicides, political terror, political instability, and displacements.
As the world becomes increasingly aware of human rights abuses taking place in Eastern Europe and around the world, human rights organizations remind world leaders not to overlook the continued brutal oppression of people in South Sudan and throughout numerous African regimes.
In February, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the South Sudan Human Rights Defenders Network called for action, saying, “South Sudanese authorities should urgently advance and implement a comprehensive human rights agenda to improve the human rights in the country and address impunity, end repression and ensure rights protection.”
The United States continues to encourage South Sudan to transition toward holding free, fair, and open democratic elections.