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South Sudan

Since fighting erupted in Juba in July 2016 and a major rebel faction returned to war, rebel groups have proliferated though conflict is much reduced from its height in 2014. The government’s current strategy can secure Juba but cannot deliver sustainable nationwide peace. Of the millions experiencing hunger due to the conflict’s impact on civilians, the UN declared 100,000 in famine conditions for several months in 2017. Through field-based research and engagement with relevant national, regional and international actors, Crisis Group aims to support humanitarian access and build a new consensus around sustainable peace efforts that address the regionalised nature of the conflict as well as its localised dynamics.

CrisisWatch South Sudan

Unchanged Situation

Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO) rebels loyal to former first VP Riek Machar 20 Sept attacked govt forces in former Unity state in north. In former Western Equatoria state in south west unknown assailants ambushed International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) aid convoy killing driver, ICRC suspended operations in third of country. High-level meetings surrounding UN General Assembly in New York mid-late Sept addressed peace implementation and humanitarian crisis but participants did not agree on new measures. Visiting UN Commission on Human Rights in S Sudan 20 Sept warned that holding elections in 2018, as required by UN-supported peace agreement, could lead to more violence and would be illegitimate given significant displacement. U.S. 6 Sept imposed sanctions on two current and one former official for corruption and hampering peace.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

20 Apr 2017
[There is] a much more chaotic situation on the ground [of South Sudan] than, let's say, two years ago, when [there was] one government, one armed opposition. Voice of America
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Casie Copeland

Senior Analyst
1 Dec 2016
From the war's outset the UN never tried to maintain a death toll [in South Sudan]. Guesses vary from 50,000 up to 300,000. It demonstrates a shocking lack of humanity that no one has tried to establish the scale of violence. Reuters
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Casie Copeland

Senior Analyst
18 Aug 2016
The over-focus on a new peacekeeping mandate at the expense of political developments in the country [South Sudan] reflects international disunity and a lack of political strategy. Washington Post
13 Aug 2016
We need some kind of political solution to this conflict, and this resolution doesn’t do that. Financial Times
9 Aug 2016
It's time for real talk because while the diplomats are playing games, it will be the South Sudanese who are dying Los Angeles Times
18 Jul 2016
It [South Sudan's peace agreement] halted the fighting, created a framework for reform, transitional justice and elections and prevented regional powers being further sucked into South Sudan's war AFP

Latest Updates

Op-Ed / Africa

To Intervene or Not? China’s Foreign Policy Experiment in South Sudan Raises Questions

China’s growing involvement in South Sudan’s civil war differs from its past approach to non-interference, though there is debate on the long-term implications as its role in African, and global, security affairs expands.

Originally published in South China Morning Post

Statement / Global

Instruments of Pain: Conflict and Famine

For the first time in three decades, four countries, driven by war, verge on famine. Over coming weeks, Crisis Group will publish special briefings on Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria. Each conflict requires tailored response; all need increased aid and efforts to end the violence.

Statement / Africa

Twelve Points for the New African Union Commission Chairperson

Africa is experiencing the highest number of humanitarian crises since the 1990s. As the new chair of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, takes office, International Crisis Group suggests how he can strengthen the organisation’s response to threats to continental peace and security.

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Report / Africa

South Sudan: Rearranging the Chessboard

President Salva Kiir has played a weak hand well since his main rival was forced out of Juba in July. To avoid new flare-ups in South Sudan’s three-year-old civil war, Kiir and regional states should step up their work on a more inclusive transitional government and peace deals with local rebel groups.