Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Africa, and Senate Chair of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, released the following statement on the recent political crisis, violence and escalating humanitarian emergency in South Sudan:
“I am deeply troubled by recent reports on the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in the Jonglei State in South Sudan. Reports indicate that there are over 100,000 internally displaced persons in Jonglei as a result of the violence and dozens more have been beaten and killed. The senseless murder and abuse of civilians is inexcusable. I call on both state and non-state actors to renounce violence immediately and instead work towards peaceful reconciliation. I am pleased that the Department of State is working with our international partners to ensure that the UN Mission to South Sudan has access to the communities in crisis.
“South Sudan is also facing a crisis of leadership. President Kirr’s recent decision to remove his vice president, dissolve his cabinet, and suspend the ruling political party is particularly concerning. I urge President Kirr to swiftly rebuild his government by appointing a cabinet that reflects the diversity of the South Sudanese people.
“In addition to the political, security and humanitarian crises South Sudan is facing an impending oil shutdown due to continuing disagreements with Sudan. An oil shutdown at this juncture would have a disastrous effect on the already volatile social and political situation, and I encourage Sudan and South Sudan to work towards a solution through a constructive dialogue.
“The United States was instrumental in helping South Sudan gain independence just two years ago and we remain committed to bringing the vision of a peaceful, inclusive, and prosperous South Sudan into fruition. We stand by the people of South Sudan at this difficult time and urge the Government of South Sudan to ensure the safety, security and universal human rights of all civilians.”