Arms embargo against South Sudan welcome


South Sudan's former rebel leader-cum-deputy president Riek Machar. Photo by REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic/File Photo

from RAJI BASHIR in Khartoum, Sudan
Sudan Bureau
KHARTOUM, (CAJ News) – THE extension of a United Nations (UN) arms embargo on South Sudan has been hailed as a victory for victims of the decade-long conflict.

The UN Security Council extended the embargo for a year.

Tigere Chagutah, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa, said the extension is welcome news for millions of civilians who have suffered human rights violations by people with guns, including horrific cases of rape and other sexual violence.

“The arms embargo is crucial to stem the flow of weapons into South Sudan where they have been used to commit and facilitate crimes with flagrant impunity for close to a decade,” the activist said.

Chagutah believes the UN Security Council vote sends a clear message to the South Sudanese government that it must act urgently to implement the Joint Action Plan on addressing conflict-related sexual violence, among other benchmarks set by the Security Council under Resolution 2577 of May 2021.

“Although this vote is a positive step, we regret that South Sudan will now be allowed to import ‘non-lethal’ equipment without the need to inform and request an exception from the Security Council’s sanctions committee,” Chagutah said.

Amnesty has further urged the Security Council to make sure that effective measures are in place for controlling the flow of weapons into South Sudan.

“States, businesses, or individuals who violate the arms embargo must be held to account,” Chagutah stated.

The UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan, the UN Panel of Experts as well as the Secretary General’s recent reports to the Security Council have all reported increased cases of conflict-related sexual violence and a lack of progress in implementing the Joint Action Plan, one of the key benchmarks for lifting the arms embargo.

A 2022 Amnesty International report also highlighted how guns are used by government soldiers, groups allied to the opposition and other non-stated armed groups in conflict-related sexual violence in South Sudan.

– CAJ News

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