Amnesty International urges UN Security Council to renew S. Sudan arms embargo

Heavy weapons captured by SPLA-IO from Salva Kiir's troops in Tunja(Photo: supplied)

Heavy weapons captured by SPLA-IO from Salva Kiir’s troops in Tunja (Photo: supplied)

May 2, 2020 (Nyamilepedia) – The Amnesty International has urged the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to renew South Sudan arms embargo imposed on the world’s youngest nation in July 2018 months before warring parties – now peace partners – could sign the revitalized peace agreement.

After nearly five years of civil war in July 2018, the United Nations Security Council imposed an arms embargo on South Sudan after a U.S.-drafted resolution won the minimum nine votes needed, while Russia, China, Ethiopia, Bolivia, Equatorial Guinea and Kazakhstan abstained, wary of voting for the measure amid regional attempts to revitalize the South Sudan peace process.

Western states and top U.N. officials have long called for an arms embargo on South Sudan. A U.S. bid to impose the measure in December 2016 – under the previous U.S. administration of President Barack Obama – failed to get enough votes in favor.

“South Sudan’s people have endured unimaginable suffering and unspeakable atrocities. Their leaders have failed them,” then U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the council before the vote at the time. “We need the violence to stop.”

In a statement on Thursday, the Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa, Deprose Muchena, said if the African Union (AU) is to achieve its goal of silencing guns by 2020, African states at the UN must vote to maintain the South Sudan’s arm embargo.

“If the African Union wants to silence the guns in Africa by 2020, African countries currently sitting on the UN Security Council – South Africa, Niger and Tunisia – must vote in favour of renewing the arms embargo imposed on South Sudan,” Muchena said.

“The arms embargo on South Sudan should not be seen as punitive but necessary for curbing violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, improving the fragile security environment, increasing prospects of justice for victims, and facilitating socio-economic development and investment into the country’s grossly under-funded healthcare system – particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Muchena added.

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