Congressman Thomas J. Rooney

Representing the 17th District of Florida

Rooney: “South Sudan is in Crisis”

Apr 25, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Tom Rooney (FL-17) commended the House passing of H.Res. 187, a bill which would increase humanitarian aid for the South Sudan, where the humanitarian state has become dire and millions of lives are at risk without immediate action.

“I was in South Sudan just two weeks ago, and while I was there I saw firsthand the heartbreaking effects of this country’s ongoing civil war, which has devastated the lives of the South Sudanese people,” Rooney said. “I want to be absolutely clear in stating that South Sudan’s famine is man-made. This famine is a direct result of the actions of the Government of South Sudan, which has been waging an ethnically-motivated military campaign against its own people since December 2013 and exploiting its country’s natural resources to pad the pockets of corrupt leaders and sustain the flow of weapons used carry out mass atrocities. Given these grim realities, I am more convinced than ever of the need for continued funding for the UN Mission in South Sudan and for the unimpeded operationalization of the Regional Protection Force to help secure the capital city of Juba. If we’re to demonstrate with any degree of seriousness to President Salva Kiir that we will not tolerate his actions any longer, we must enact an arms embargo on South Sudan. While an arms embargo will not alone end the violence in a country awash with weapons, it will back up our warnings with action and provide for conditions more conducive to reaching a political solution to end this senseless, devastating violence. I am proud to stand with my colleagues to call attention to this unfolding humanitarian disaster and advocate for lifesaving aid for the people of South Sudan.”

On February 20, 2017 famine was formally declared in South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation. For nearly the past three and a half years, the country has been embattled in a brutal conflict that has displaced more than 3.6 million people. The UN has reported that 4.9 million people, over 40% of the population, are in urgent need of food, agriculture and nutritional assistance. Currently, 1 million children are suffering from malnutrition due to the deliberate actions of the Government of South Sudan and, an additional 5.5 million people will be at risk of starvation in a matter of months if the current trajectory of violence continues. In addition to the famine, civilians continue to face wide-scale ethnic violence and human rights violations, including rampant sexual violence and rape among women and children.