A little more than two years after gaining its independence, South Sudan descended into a devastating armed conflict in December 2013. Civilians have borne the brunt of the violence, as armed groups have deliberately targeted them through killings, sexual violence, the destruction of property, and the looting of cattle.
CIVIC is currently undertaking an in-depth assessment about civilians’ experience of the conflict as well as their needs and expectations regarding protection and post-harm assistance – both of which will be critical if the country is to break free from cycles of violence and revenge. During ongoing field research in South Sudan, we have interviewed more than 100 civilians who have fled the conflict and live in internally displaced persons’ (IDP) camps, in addition to meeting with government and military leaders, high-level UN representatives, and leading civil society activists, among others.
Our work has examined the protection of civilians by the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), including the challenges the mission has faced in managing IDPs within its bases and in proactively protecting people in conflict areas. We are advocating for policies, tools, and resources that would better allow the mission to robustly protect civilians from harm.
Looking forward, CIVIC seeks to deepen our engagement with parties to the conflict, including the government and military, and will advocate for stronger civilian harm mitigation policies and practices. We will also work with civil society groups to promote the importance of civilian protection and post-harm assistance.
Photo by Matt Wells
South Sudan Publications
Challenges and Conditions for Deploying an Effective Regional Protection Force to South Sudan
31 October 2016 | Policy Brief
CIVIC has examined the potential consequences, both positive and negative, of the RPF and one conclusion is clear: Despite fears and hopes on the part of UNMISS officials and South Sudanese civilians, the RPF cannot be a false promise to the South Sudanese people.
Under Fire: The July 2016 Violence in Juba and UN Response
5 October 2016 | Research Report
In July 2016, South Sudan's capital, Juba, was wracked by violence between pro- and anti-government forces, with the UN and displaced civilians caught in the middle. This report examines how the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) responded to threats against civilian men and women as it found itself under fire.
A Refuge in Flames: The February 17-18 Violence in Malakal POC
22 April 2016 | Research Report
On February 17-18, 2016, a United Nations base in South Sudan sheltering about 47,000 displaced persons was engulfed in violence that left at least 30 people dead and much of the camp in ashes. Based on field research undertaken in Malakal and Juba in March 2016, this report examines both how the violence unfolded and how the UN peacekeeping mission responded.
“Those Who Could Not Run, Died”: Civilian Perspectives on the Conflict in South Sudan
26 February 2016 | Research Report
The armed conflict that erupted in South Sudan in December 2013 has been devastating for civilians, as forces on both sides have repeatedly and deliberately targeted them, including through killings, sexual violence, the destruction of homes, and the looting of property. Based on field research undertaken between August and December 2015, this report examines civilians’ experience of the conflict as well as their perspectives on what is needed to avoid further violence.
Within and Beyond the Gates: The Protection of Civilians by the UN Mission in South Sudan
07 October 2015 | Research Report
CIVIC examines the mission’s successes and challenges in proactively protecting civilians from harm during the last 20 months of armed conflict in South Sudan. The report is based on field research in South Sudan in August 2015, including more than 80 interviews with civilians affected by the conflict, UN representatives, government and military officials, representatives of international humanitarian organizations, and local civil society leaders. As UNMISS’s mandate is being renewed, Center for Civilians in Conflict calls on the UN Security Council to maintain the protection of civilians as the mission’s core priority and to ensure the mission has the support needed to respond more robustly in conflict areas.
Protection of Civilians by the UN Peacekeeping Mission in South Sudan
03 September 2015 | Briefing Paper
This paper is based on research conducted by the Stimson Center, the Better World Campaign and the Center for Civilians in Conflict in Juba and Bentiu, South Sudan, in August 2015. The organizations travelled to South Sudan to understand the implementation of the UN peacekeeping mission’s mandate to protect civilians.