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.