Today is the fourth anniversary of the start of the conflict in South Sudan. We are writing to urge the UK government to redouble its efforts to support peace in the country. Numbers rarely tell the whole story of a conflict but the statistics in South Sudan are truly staggering: 6 million people, half of the country’s population, are severely food insecure; 1.8 million people have sought refuge in neighbouring countries, with the Bidi Bidi camp in Uganda now the largest in the world; an adolescent girl in South Sudan is now three times more likely to die in childbirth than to complete primary school.
The UK government has been at the forefront of international efforts to support the South Sudanese people. As the second-largest donor to South Sudan, the Department for International Development has funded lifesaving health, education and nutrition projects across the country. UK diplomacy, as part of the troika, continues to pressure regional governments to engage fully in the peace process.
As this conflict moves into its fifth year, we are reminded that achieving peace demands that we address the conflict’s root causes. On the ground, that means investing in local-level peacebuilding and reconciliation initiatives that enable communities to heal. Churches, traditional leaders, women’s and youth groups, and refugee communities must be empowered to influence the implementation of the peace agreement. As parliamentarians, we commit to working with our government, and the South Sudanese people, at every opportunity to help bring about a peaceful future.