Beyond the rhetoric and declarations - the reality for people living in South Sudan

A small Amnesty delegation has spent just over a week in South Sudan assessing the direct impact of the volatile situation on people living in region.  Visiting the Yida refugee camp in South Sudan earlier this week, the message they were being given was that refugees felt as though the rest of the world had forgotten them.

Well the fight over oil in Sudan has certainly not left the news: there’s been worrying rhetoric from President al Bashir threatening to bring down the government in Juba following the loss of Sudan’s main oil field Heglig, and the UN Secretary General describing South Sudan's seizure of Heglig, as "illegal".

As Amnesty Canada Director Alex Neve describes, “each day there are fresh reports of the deterioration in the relationship between the two countries, dimming the hopes for peace after South Sudan’s independence in July 2011 ended a protracted civil war and mass human rights violations.

“…Bombs have rained down from Sudanese Antonovs and MiG fighter jets which streak through the skies above South Sudan’s northernmost regions. The rhetoric in the two capitals, Juba and Khartoum, is full of defiance and warmongering.”

In spite of the sharp rhetoric from the UN Secretary General and the African Union, it does appear that few people are making much reference to the impact of thousands of civilians living along this troubled border – particularly in Sudan’s restive Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

Alex Neve continues:

“With countless deaths and injuries and hundreds of thousands of people forced to flee, Amnesty International has repeatedly documented this appalling human rights and humanitarian crisis. In Yida and other refugee camps in South Sudan we have seen and heard first-hand the many ways in which this crisis has not abated.”

Read more about the findings from Alex and the rest of the team in South Sudan.

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