South Sudan is almost the size of France, it is located in east-central Africa and is the world newest country. South Sudan has a population of 11 million and is one of the poorest nations on earth. It is underdeveloped and has a literacy rate of 27 percent, it has 55 kilometres of paved roads, and oil exports what mainly drives its economy.
60% of people in South Sudan are Christian, 32% practice African traditional religions and Islam makes up only 6.4% of the population according to Pew figures. Even though Christianity is the dominant religion in South Sudan, it is hard to define which version of Christianity most of the Christians in South Sudan adhere to. If we are talking about the Christianity that holds to the exclusivity of the Bible and Jesus Christ, then I suspect that number would be a lot lower. The Christianity we have in Africa is a mixture of African traditional religions and Christianity.
South Sudan broke away from the rest of Sudan in 2011, but since independence, South Sudan has struggled to stand on it own two feet. Since 2011 the two main ethnic groups have been fighting against each other killing millions and living many displaced.
So, what makes South Sudan so dangerous?
According to a human rights report, “rape” in South Sudan has become just a regular thing, especially women who are caught in the civil war. Most of the violence in South Sudan is tribal, the rebels and sometimes army personnel will target civilians because of the tribe the civilian belong to. The violence has displaced millions, leaving them without food, water and shelter. And as with all violence, it is women, children and ethnic minorities that are most affected.
One woman was quoted saying “They grabbed [my older daughter] and held her down in a fire and burned her face, her shoulder, and the length of her body,” she said. “They let go of her and left when she caught on fire.”
Report from June 2015 detailed about 60 unlawful killing of Women, Men and Children, the elderly were not spared from this either. People were killed by hanging, others by shooting squads and other where burned alive. The report also found that government troops and allied forces regularly used violence against women. You have no hope as a country if the people that are tasked to protect are the same people killing you just because you are different.
Secondly, South Sudan has the largest number of child soldiers; one journalist put this way, “if you are a boy and are old enough to carry a gun, then you are old enough to be in the military”. According to the UN, 18,000 child soldiers have been recruited in the past four years; most of them are still fighting. The children are taken from their homes, brainwashed and made to kill, rape and steal. Some boys are lucky in that they do not die and are rescued and from the rebel groups. The Government has a big task of integrating them back into society.
Thirdly, There is no freedom of expression in South Sudan, over the years Government authorities have continued to harass, intimidate, arrest and detain journalists for no reason. One of the reasons why Western countries democracies are so mature stable and peaceful is the freedom of the press. Having a media that is free is critical to any democracy because a free and fair press keeps the Government in check. The government then know that they will not be re-elected in the next election if they do not do what they were elected to do. South Sudan has a lot of stories of journalists being bitten and intimidated so that they do not do their job. Moreover, according to amnesty international, South Sudan fails to provide due process in legal proceedings for it citizens. If an individual is arrested In South Sudan, they are the mercy of the police and the person who arrested you.
Alfred Taban, a veteran journalist and editor of the Juba Monitor, was arrested and detained for 13 days for publishing an op-ed calling for the replacement of the South Sudanese leadership. His newspaper was shut down for a day following his arrest. The Nation Mirror was shut down indefinitely on September 14 for publishing texts critical of President Kiir
Furthermore, child marriages, current figures show nearly half of girls between the age of 15 and 19 were forced into marriage as early as 12. As a result, only 37 percent of girls attend school. And while Sudan has laws prohibiting early marriages, but due to cultural values that say marrying off the girl at a young age is in the best interest of the child. Child marriages are still very prevalent. Child marriages happen because they allow the families to get access to resources that are traditionally paid for through dowery.
Also, South Sudan is poor, with limited chances for regular citizens to succeed, nearly half of Sudanese live below the poverty line. Most of the poor people live in rural areas, which is half of the population. But despite the extreme poverty South Sudan has a higher GDP per capita than any other east African nation. Oil export makes up 70% of the GDP and about 90 percent of the revenue that is generated by the Government. Due to the ethnic fighting, corruption and bad policy, South Sudan has not been able to transform the natural resource at its disposal to build infrastructure and improve the lives of its people.
In conclusion, South Sudan is not a placed anyone would want to raise their children, it is hell for women and children. People live in an oppressive regime and that why people are fleeing or migrating from the country for a better life. 84% of women are illiterate and 75% of people do not have access to primary health care.
Photo was taken from -https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Sudanese_Civil_War#/media/File:South_Sudan_022.jpg