Sudan is one of the 22 countries worldwide where the Civilian Response Corps is currently deployed. The Corps pulls together conflict and stabilization experts from nine U.S. government agencies, who bring diverse expertise in key sectors needed for effective crisis response.
On July 9, southern Sudan will declare its independence from Sudan in accordance with the terms of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended the Second Sudanese Civil War, which lasted from 1983 to 2005. The Civilian Response Corps supported U.S. efforts to help Sudan carry out its referendum on independence. Ambassador Robert Loftis is acting Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization at the State Department. He said, "The referendum was far more successful than anybody ever anticipated":
"A large part of that was due to the overall efforts of the United States working with the United Nations and others in making sure that ballot materials were delivered; that registration took place; that poll workers were paid. What we've been doing now is helping to consolidate those gains as the country is moving toward independence on July 9th and that means working with local governors – church groups, county commissioners – helping to identify the things that they can do to prevent south on south violence."
In the interest of fostering peace, Corps stabilization teams have encouraged various southern Sudanese communities to use their traditional courts to help resolve some of the intercommunal and cross-border issues. Civilian Response Corps teams also coordinate with local political and religious leaders, said Ambassador Loftis:
"You have [them] working with church groups to pull in local politicians to have them give pledges to govern democratically, to resolve their issues peacefully; to operate government transparently; to be more accountable to the people."
The people of southern Sudan understand they are at a crucial point in their country's history. The Civilian Response Corps is playing an important role in helping support the world's newest democracy as it transitions to independence and begins a new chapter of its history after decades of war.