A Brief History of South Sudan
The founding of the country of South Sudan dates from January 2011 when the people of South Sudan voted on whether they should break away from Sudan and declare independence. On January 30, 2011 the results had shown that 98.83% of the population had voted for independence from Sudan.
Many years of horrific conflict preceded this vote for independence from Sudan. Tens of thousands of people were killed, and hundreds of thousands of people were displaced and made homeless. The United Nations and the United States helped in establishing a peaceful settlement that allowed the vote for independence.
On July 9, 2011 the world’s newest nation emerged under the name Republic of South Sudan. On July 14, 2011 South Sudan became the 193rd member state of the United Nations. On July 28, 2011 South Sudan joined the African Union as its 54th member state.
Certain disputes still remain with Sudan, such as sharing the oil revenues. An estimated 80% of the oil in both Sudans is from South Sudan, which would represent an amazing economic potential for one of the world’s most deprived areas. The region of Abyei still remains disputed and a separate referendum is due to be held in Abyei on whether they want to join North or South Sudan.
Independence has not brought peace to South Sudan. Civil war continues, involving at least seven armed groups. According to UN figures, the various conflicts affected nine of South Sudan’s ten states, with tens of thousands displaced. The fighters accuse the government of plotting to stay in power indefinitely, not fairly representing and supporting all tribal groups and neglecting development in rural areas.
The United Nations has peacekeepers in the country. In January 2014 the first ceasefire agreement was reached. Fighting still continued and would be followed by several more ceasefire agreements, none of which have ended the fighting.
There were ethnic undertones between the Dinka and Nuer tribes in the fighting. The conflict has killed up to 300,000 civilians. It is estimated that 3 million people have been displaced in a country of 12 million, with about 2 million internally displaced and about 1 million having fled to neighboring countries, especially Kenya, Sudan, and Uganda.
South Sudan is the world’s newest country, and the birth of this new nation has been very difficult. Seeds of South Sudan is a very small nonprofit, and it cannot solve all of the many problems of this new nation. However, in a very small way, it can give hope by helping educate orphaned refugees of the conflicts; and thus provide some of the enlightened, educated leadership needed by this new nation.
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Works Cited and Further Reading