16 March 2017

South Sudan: Actor George Clooney Blames South Sudan Famine On Nation's Elite

Photo: Kaveh Sardari / CFR
George Clooney.

New York — Famine in South Sudan could be brought to an end if world leaders would step in and keep local politicians from fighting over and wasting funds that could help feed the starving nation, actor George Clooney said in a newspaper opinion piece on Thursday.

Describing the famine as "government-made," Clooney said South Sudan's political elite are fanning ethnic tensions to build fortunes in the oil-rich nation.

Civil war broke out in South Sudan in 2013 after a disagreement between President Salva Kiir and his former vice president Riek Machar exploded into military confrontation.

The conflict pits the military of Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, against forces loyal to Machar, a Nuer.

Nearly half the population, or about 5.5 million people, is expected to be without a reliable source of food by July. Last month, the United Nations said parts of South Sudan are already suffering from famine.

Clooney, in an opinion piece published in the Washington Post, called for "choking the illicit financial flows of the kleptocrats."

"Even while the world responds to the famine, it's time also to address root causes," said Clooney, who co-authored the piece with John Prendergast, a human rights activist and author.

Clooney, 55, who has appeared in such films as "Ocean's Eleven" and "Syriana," has used his stardom to bring attention to humanitarian crises in South Sudan and neighboring Sudan.

Last year, the Sentry, a non-profit group he founded with Prendergast, issued a report saying families on both sides of South Sudan's civil war have amassed fortunes from the conflict.

(Reporting by Sebastien Malo @sebastienmalo, Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit http://news.trust.org)

South Sudan

South Sudan Gunmen Free Acholi Premier

After three days in the hands of South Sudan armed group, Acholi Cultural Institution premier Ambrose Olaa and eight… Read more »

See What Everyone is Watching

Copyright © 2017 Thomson Reuters Foundation. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 800 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.