Preserving Self-Determination in the Search for Peace in South Sudan

Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/eeas/

By Guest Contributor:

Laura Nyantung Beny Professor of Law, University of Michigan Law School Co-editor of Sudan’s Killing Fields: Political Violence and Fragmentation

 

 

Following decades of civil war in Sudan, in 2011 South Sudan became an independent nation due to an internationally brokered peace agreement and referendum on secession. At independence, Southern Sudanese and many international supporters were jubilant and full of great hope for the new country, a region which had been in nearly perpetual conflict.

Early hopes and celebration gave way in December 2013 to an intractable conflict, now recognized as a civil war, between rival factions of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (the “SPLM/A”). The competing factions include forces loyal to President Salva Kiir, a Dinka, and former Vice President Riek Machar, a Nuer. The humanitarian situation is dire. The United Nations (UN) and other bodies have issued warnings about ethnic cleansing and impending genocide. Over 3 million people have been displaced, internally and in neighboring countries. The UN has declared famine status in several regions. Reports chronicle massive human rights abuses, including gender-based violations, such as rape and sexual harassment. Peace remains elusive.

The UN Security Council, governments, and civil society groups have put forth multiple proposals to end the conflict and restore peace to South Sudan. Proposed measures include: UN sanctions (general and targeted); criminal tribunals for culpable leaders; international peacekeeping forces (AU and UN); and national dialogue. Ironically, some have even proposed “neo-trusteeship” for South Sudan.

None of these preceding measures alone is sufficient to end the conflict. Some, like national dialogue, are necessary, while others, like criminal tribunals or sanctions, might be unnecessary for peace. This commentary gives an overview of several of the proposed measures and potential obstacles to their success. It concludes that the most promising, indeed indispensable, measure is an indigenous, all-inclusive peace process. Trusteeship is especially problematic, as it would entail a break from the foundational basis of South Sudan’s sovereignty – self-determination.

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In Case You Missed It: Last Week’s International News, Today: November 15th

Below are a few stories that caught our eyes this week.

Trump

The American election has dominated the news cycle in the last week. What does a President Trump mean for those interested in international law? Opinio Juris has published several interesting pieces in the last week worth reading on implications for international human rights, Israel, the Paris Agreement, Syria, and much more.

Kenya Protests

UN Human Rights experts have condemned violence in Kenya against protestors and journalists, calling it “a violent clampdown on a peaceful protest.”

Revised FARC Deal

After citizens voted down a previous deal between Columbia and the FARC, the government and FARC came to a new deal attempting to address some of the concerns raised. This deal aims to end the longest war in Latin America.

Australia Refugees

In an attempt to address international backlash over the way over a thousand refugees are currently interned on Nauru and Manus island of the coast of Australia, the U.S. and Australia struck a deal allowing U.S. officials to screen those being held for resettlement in the U.S. in a one-time deal.

 

 

The Rust Belt Lost Clinton the Election, and Free Trade is Why

rust

Photo Credit: Bob Jagendorf

By: Jessica M. Rose

America and the world are staring down the barrel of a Trump presidency – and it’s because Democrats failed to execute a principle they are supposed to be known for.

The states that gave the election to Trump were Rust Belt states: Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. These states were part of what were called the Clinton firewall, that she needed – and expected – to win in order to go on to win the presidency. I am of course not making the claim that xenophobia, islamophobia, racism, and sexism among other issues played no terrifying role in the election. The crucial states in question, however, were blue for Obama and have been for decades; Pennsylvania and Michigan haven’t been red since 1988, and Wisconsin hasn’t been red since 1984.

Michigan and Wisconsin, according to the best pollsters out there at Five Thirty Eight, were not supposed to even be in play this time. Their best information had her chances for Wisconsin at 83.5%, for Michigan at 78.9%, and for Pennsylvania at 77%. To be fair, if she lost them, she lost them by a tiny margin: at the time of writing, Trump had 47.9% of the vote and Clinton 46.9% in Wisconsin with 95% of the vote in, and Michigan was still too close to call with a 0.3% difference between the candidates. But these states weren’t supposed to be margin-of-error states; Clinton was supposed to have them in the bag.

Continue reading The Rust Belt Lost Clinton the Election, and Free Trade is Why