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Centre of Governance & Human Rights (CGHR)


22nd January 2014

Conflict and Crisis in South Sudan: Roundtable

Dr Sharath Srinivasan (CGHR/POLIS, University of Cambridge)
Peter Ajak (PhD Student, POLIS)
Dr Laura James (Independent Consultant and Former Economic Adviser to African Union High-Level Implementation Panel for Sudan)

The world's newest state is in the grip of a spiralling civil conflict with devastating human impact on its war-ravaged and impoverished population. On December 15, 2013, fighting broke out within the Presidential Guards unit, prompting President Salva Kiir to accuse his former deputy, Riek Machar, of an attempted coup. Although Machar denied the charge, he quickly declared himself the leader of a rebellion, composed of defected soldiers from the army and allied tribal militia, with the aim of ousting Kiir from power. Numbers are hard to come by, but it is estimated the one-month old conflict has killed over 10,000 people and displaced over 300,000 civilians. It has brought the two-year old nation to the brink of civil war, possibly already well beyond. With Uganda already acknowledging an active military presence supporting the Government, the conflict risks intervention by Sudan, whose economy depends on fees levied on the transportation of South Sudan's oil to world markets.

This roundtable discussion gives a snapshot of the conflict and its consequences to date, before exploring its underlying causes, the implications for Sudan/South Sudan relations and the implications for regional and international efforts at peacemaking and peacebuilding in the Sudans in recent years.

Dr Sharath Srinivasan directs the Centre of Governance and Human Rights (CGHR) and is a lecturer in POLIS. He is also Director of Studies for the Rift Valley Institute's 2014 Sudan/South Sudan field course. He has researched and written on conflict and international intervention in Sudan/South Sudan for over a decade.

Peter Ajak is a PhD student in politics and international relations at the University of Cambridge. He is also the Founder and Director of the Center for Strategic Analyses and Research (C-SAR), an independent policy think-tank based in Juba, South Sudan and the CEO of South Sudan Wrestling Entertainment (SSWE).

Dr Laura James is an Independent Consultant and former Economic Adviser to the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel for Sudan (AUHIP).