AJC Congratulates South Sudan on Independence

July 9, 2011 - New York - AJC marked the birth of South Sudan by calling on the international community to support the world's newest nation as it pursues independence under daunting conditions.

"We share the hopes of those celebrating independence in Juba, South Sudan's capital," said AJC Executive Director David Harris. "The road to independence has been a long and bitter one: more than two million died and four million were driven from their homes during the civil war. South Sudan has finally been liberated from the domination of the largely Arab, Muslim north, yet it still faces enormous challenges. The world's newest nation is also one of its poorest, and the threat of renewed war remains. That is why we call on the international community, led by the U.S., which did so much to bring about South Sudan's independence, to remain fully engaged as the country begins a new chapter."

Tens of thousands of South Sudanese thronged the streets of Juba as Salva Kiir, South Sudan's first president, signed the constitution and took his oath of office.

AJC has been involved in advocacy concerning South Sudan since the creation of its Africa Institute in 2006. Its director, Eliseo Neuman, visited Juba in 2007 to meet with senior government officials and members of the Sudan Peoples' Liberation Movement to identify state-building challenges that the institute could assist in addressing, including the training of members of the South Sudanese diaspora in Israel interested in voluntarily returning to South Sudan to participate in the creation of their long awaited state.