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On 9 July 2015, South Sudan will reach the fourth anniversary of its independence from Sudan. Since December 2013 the country has been in a state of civil war, with the government fighting rebel forces led by the former deputy President. An estimated 50,000 people have died in the conflict so far. A recent report from the United Nations Mission in South Sudan also alleges that the war has seen extreme violence and human rights abuses committed against civilians by government forces. This In Focus Note briefly summarises the background to the conflict and the UN’s recent report on the human rights situation in the country, and highlights some of the attempts to resolve the civil war.

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