Department of Labor joins State, Commerce departments to advise US businesses, others of risks of involvement in South Sudan
WASHINGTON – The departments of Labor, State and Commerce have issued an advisory to alert U.S. businesses and individuals to the growing reputational, legal and economic risks of conducting or considering doing business in South Sudan.
The advisory applies specifically to companies with strong ties to South Sudan’s extended transitional government and stems from the South Sudanese government’s August 2022 decision to extend the four-year transitional government, originally mandated to end in February 2022.
The extension came despite the transitional government’s failure to address pervasive and endemic corruption in the South Sudanese economy’s public and private sectors. The country’s leaders are allocating resources to fund and equip security forces and militias loyal to political elites implicated in human rights violations. These violations include forcing children to serve in combat and serve as cooks, porters and spies.
“The transitional government in South Sudan has shown an unwillingness to address the corruption and illegal activity in its ranks that have given rise to labor and human rights violations throughout the country,” said Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs Thea Lee. “Today’s business advisory reminds U.S. businesses that engaging with companies or individuals associated with a government complicit in human rights violations legitimizes these unethical practices.”
This advisory is among the many resources the department’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs provides to strengthen global labor standards; enforce labor commitments among trading partners; promote racial and gender equity; and combat international child labor, forced labor and human trafficking.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs provides its List of Goods Produced with Child Labor or Forced Labor, its List of Products Produced by Forced or Indentured Child Labor, and its Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor report to help businesses review their supply chains and avoid complicity in labor violations. In its report, the agency cited the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict in South Sudan. The department’s lists of goods produced with child labor, forced labor and forced child labor includes cattle raised in South Sudan.
View the Department of Commerce’s Entity List for more information on foreign entities involved in — or those with a significant risk of being involved in — activities contrary to U.S. security or foreign policy interests.