Comment & analysis

Saferworld statement on the High Level Revitalisation Forum on the South Sudan peace process

25 May 2018

The latest round of the High Level Revitalisation Forum (HLRF) on the South Sudan peace process ended without an agreement in Addis Ababa this week. The forum - led by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the East African regional bloc - is the latest attempt to secure agreement from the parties to end the devastating conflict, now in its fifth year. Though largely expected, this outcome is yet another bitter disappointment for the South Sudanese people who continue to bear the brunt of ongoing violence and economic crisis.  While international and regional mediators regroup, supporters of peace in South Sudan should look to invest in people-to-people grassroots peace processes to begin to address the complex sub-national conflict dynamics that have emerged. 

The lack of progress calls into question yet again whether a power-sharing agreement which excludes the interests of ordinary citizens will bring results and lead to a lasting peace. Without more transformative reforms, including meaningful security sector reform, peaceful civilian disarmament and addressing the causes of disaffection and disenfranchisement, another elite deal may at best only defer the emergence of further cycles of armed conflict.

Peace is possible in South Sudan: empowering people to reconcile their differences locally and end the cycles of violence that have destroyed their communities, is an achievable and important step forward. Communities and individuals, including women and young people, need to be supported now to shape a more peaceful future for the country while the pursuit of a political accommodation continues.