Rape, Murder, Famine - and $2.1 Million for K Street PR
"By almost any objective measure, the fledgling nation of South Sudan is
an unmitigated disaster — reeling from a violent power struggle that’s
left an estimated 50,000 people dead just in the past three years. Last
week, as the country turned five, renewed factional violence reportedly
killed as many as 270 more and displaced thousands before leaders agreed
to a ceasefire on Monday.
While opposition forces are responsible for some of the historical
bloodshed, South Sudanese government forces 'bore the greatest
responsibility' for human rights violations in 2015, according to a United Nations report. Those government forces have raped and murdered civilians, recruited child soldiers and looted civilian property.
Meanwhile, more than 5 million people in South Sudan are in need of
humanitarian assistance, according to the World Food Programme’s
estimate, and many of them face “unprecedented levels of food
insecurity,” say U.N. agencies. One in five South Sudanese have fled
their homes, according to international development organization Mercy
But while the South Sudanese government largely claims it doesn’t have
enough money to fix these problems, the struggling government was able
to spend $2.1 million on Washington, D.C., lobbying and public
relations firms from 2014 through the end of 2015 — $2.1 million to buff
up its image, keep U.S. aid flowing and stave off harsher U.S.-backed
sanctions in response to its atrocities."