In South Sudan, the ruling elite loot state coffers

The massive looting of state coffers by the political elite in South Sudan is undermining human rights in the world’s youngest country and threatening its already fragile peace process, said the UN in a report released Thursday (September 23).

Since gaining independence from Sudan in 2011, the country has been in the throes of a chronic economic and political crisis and is struggling to recover from the civil war, which left nearly 400,000 dead and 4 million displaced between 2013 and 2018.

episode 1 The 400,000 specters that haunt South Sudan’s sacked dream

According to the UN Human Rights Commission in South Sudan, a “Staggering” amount of money and other goods have been diverted from coffers and public resources: more than $ 73 million (some 62 million euros) since 2018, including nearly $ 39 million stolen in less than two months.

This figure represents only a fraction of the global looting of state coffers, underlines the UN, indicating that President Salva Kiir admitted that in 2012 the ruling elites had embezzled more than $ 4 billion.

Under the constant threat of power struggles

By practicing this pillage on a large scale, “South Sudanese leaders undermine human rights and endanger security”, estimates the report which calls on the leaders to implement the terms of the peace agreement and to the establishment of a real economic management.

“This plunder also continues to fuel political competition among the elites and is a key driver of the ongoing conflict, atrocities and crimes, compromising the prospects for lasting peace”, says the commission in this report presented to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Episode 3 In Juba, odd jobs and big contracts for foreigners

According to a 2018 peace agreement, Salva Kiir and Vice President Riek Machar, adversaries during the civil war, participate in power in a government of national unity, the first as president and the second as vice president . But this government is under the constant threat of power struggles that delay the implementation of the peace agreement and fuel endemic violence and an economic crisis.

The report accuses the elites – politicians, government officials, members of the military, international institutions or international banks – of adopting a system “Highly informal” of oil revenue collection without independent control or transparency, allowing them to unduly appropriate public funds. The country depends almost entirely on oil revenues.

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The World with AFP

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