Oxfam welcomes the signing of a ceasefire agreement today between the Government of South Sudan and Riek Machar’s opposition forces in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
It is hoped the ceasefire will bring an end to widespread fighting across South Sudan which has displaced almost half a million people and over 80,000 refugees since 15 December 2013.
The scale of this humanitarian crisis is the largest South Sudan has seen since the country became independent in 2005.
Oxfam Chief Executive Helen Szoke said the ceasefire agreement is vital to ensure that no more lives are lost due to violence in South Sudan.
“The world’s newest nation, plagued by conflict for the past month, has today been given a second chance,” Dr Szoke said.
“With the cessation of hostilities, the focus must now be on rapid reconciliation to aide a fast recovery and set South Sudan on a clear path to development.
“The demand in the agreement for humanitarian access is a clear acknowledgement that the dire living conditions for the near half a million people displaced by recent violence are unacceptable and must be reversed.
“In order for the ceasefire agreement to have a real impact, both parties must honour the commitments outlined in the document. Progress must be closely and regularly monitored, as agreed, by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
Since the outbreak of violence last month Oxfam, together with South Sudanese partners and international organisations, have been responding with life-saving aid for communities most in need, both inside South Sudan and refugees who have fled from violence across its borders.
Oxfam’s response is currently reaching around 110,000 people affected by the crisis and is planning to expand its emergency assistance across the country.
Assistance has included water, health and sanitation equipment, as well as food and non-food items.
“Oxfam now hopes this agreement will hold fast and will allow us to rapidly scale up our work to reach the poorest and most vulnerable.”
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