Following the United Nations Security Council’s decision to extend the arms embargo on South Sudan for a year, Tigere Chagutah, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa, said:
“The extension of the UN arms embargo on South Sudan 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 extension of the UN arms embargo on South Sudan 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.Tigere Chagutah, Regional Director, Amnesty International, East and Southern Africa
“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.
Research has shown that security forces continue to misuse less lethal weapons to violently suppress peaceful protests and cause horrific injuries and deaths.”
“We further urge 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.”
We urge the Security Council to ensure effective measures are in place for controlling the flow of weapons into South Sudan. Tigere Chagutah
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.
The Security Council imposed an arms embargo on South Sudan through Resolution 2428 (2018) and has since renewed it several times with the most recent renewal being through Resolution 2633 (2022). Through Resolution 2577 (2021), the Security Council expressed its readiness to review arms embargo measures, further to an assessment by the Secretary-General of progress made towards five benchmarks.
These relate to the completion of the Strategic Defence and Security Review process contained in the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS); formation of the Necessary Unified Forces; progress in establishing and implementing the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process; progress in the proper management of existing arms and ammunition stockpiles; and implementation of the Joint Action Plan for the Armed Forces on addressing conflict-related sexual violence.
The UN has reported that implementation of these benchmarks has been either null or limited.
Source: Amesty International