This paper summarises the current crisis in the new nation of South Sudan, the historical background, and Australia's role.

Executive summary

  • In mid-December 2013, the newly formed country of South Sudan erupted into violence, creating a significant humanitarian crisis.
  • Violence spread rapidly across the country, mainly along ethnic lines, and thousands were killed.
  • The United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) came under attack with two Indian peacekeepers killed.
  • The UN Security Council adopted a resolution on 24 December 2013 to significantly increase the military and police contribution to UNMISS.
  • Australia contributes military and police personnel to UNMISS and recently provided additional support through strategic airlift operations.
  • Despite a peace agreement being reached on 23 January 2014, which included terms for a ceasefire, the violence continues.
  • Since the crisis started, 709,000 people have been internally displaced and 249,000 have sought refuge in neighbouring countries.
  • Peace negotiations backed by the UN and the African Union are ongoing, but are yet to produce a sustainable solution to the crisis.
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