Celebration of South Sudan’s independence overshadowed by war

‘Norway continues to support the South Sudanese people as they mark their independence day on 9 July, but the country’s leaders must demonstrate a greater responsibility for creating peace,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

On 9 July, South Sudan celebrates its fourth independence day since the state was established in 2011. Mr Brende urges the country’s leaders to take immediate action to bring about peace in this young country, and to form a transitional government of national unity.

‘Today should have been an occasion for celebration in South Sudan, but the civil war has forced 2.2 million people to flee their homes, and 4.6 million face the risk of famine.

‘It is unacceptable that the country’s leaders have repeatedly failed to meet the population’s needs, and have instead squandered the country’s oil wealth on a meaningless and utterly brutal war. All the parties to the conflict are responsible for violating the ceasefire agreement of January 2014, preventing humanitarian access to vulnerable groups, and perpetrating gross violations of human rights against civilians, including women and children.

‘The decision by the South-Sudanese parliament to temporarily extend the Government’s term of office will come into force today. The only acceptable reason for this is  to bring about an immediate peace agreement and form a transitional government. Together with the other Troika countries – the UK and the US – and the EU, Norway remains committed to supporting the South-Sudanese people both today and in the future.

‘We must insist that all the parties to this conflict give highest priority to the needs of the people, and that they demonstrate the necessary leadership to ensure that South Sudan and its people can enjoy sustainable peace,’ said Mr  Brende.