South Sudan turns one: much to celebrate but much still to do…

5 Jul 2012   |   Media release   |   Emergency Relief   |   Sudan

The people of South Sudan and their diasporas across Australia have much to celebrate one year after becoming the newest country on Earth, Caritas Australia said.

“There are improved roads and other infrastructure, better access to clean water and food, improved communications and, most importantly, the people of South Sudan have hope and joy in their hearts,” Caritas Australia Africa programs coordinator, Mary Wachira, said.

“South Sudan is also a much safer place to visit and many have been spared the violence of decades past where millions were either displaced or died through conflicts with the north or internal ethnic disputes,” Ms Wachira said.

“Today the capital Juba is a changing place where you can see new roads and new buildings popping up all over the place. But there is still a great deal of work to be done, particularly in developing the oil sector which promises wealth but needs a great deal of work.

Caritas Australia CEO, Jack de Groot, said there had been significant improvements in the last 12 months but more South Sudanese families must have access to basic human rights like clean water, education and reliable food sources. Regional economies were needed to allow the world’s newest country to become self-sufficient.

Mr de Groot supported moves by the Security Council’s, United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), to extend its presence by a further 12 months in a bid to increase civilian protection and improve security.

In the last year, ethnic disputes erupted in places like Jonglei, Northern Bahr Ghazal and Unity State. South Sudan also came close to war with Sudan over disputed oil fields and pipelines along the border.

“Caritas Australia is supportive of further UN engagement. The international community needs to work closely with South Sudan to address tensions within the country itself and with its neighbour,” Mr de Groot said.

“But it is crucial that South Sudan takes greater responsibility for the protection of its own civilians and should be encouraged to work closely with UNMISS to improve security and safety for its people.”

Media contact: Ryan Heffernan – 0408 869 833 or

More information:
South Sudan: a joyous one-year-old country needs our support, a report from Mary Wachira, Africa Programs Coordinator for Caritas Australia. 
South Sudan one year on: a photo essay
More on our work in Sudan and South Sudan

Back to Newsroom