South Sudan: renewal of UN arms embargo a welcome move to protect lives

Following the United Nations Security Council’s decision to renew the arms embargo on South Sudan for another year, Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa, said:

“We welcome the renewal of the arms embargo which is crucial to curtailing the flow of weapons that have been used to commit war crimes and abuses, and call on the Security Council and UN members to diligently enforce it.

“The human rights situation in South Sudan remains dire as government forces, fighters of armed opposition groups and armed youth continue to violate human rights on a daily basis.

“Many civilians continue to be killed and displaced from their homes, girls as young as eight have been gang-raped and human rights defenders and journalists continue to be harassed and intimidated.”

Amnesty has also welcomed the benchmarks that the Council has put in place, against which it will review the arms embargo in December, including implementation of all provisions of the peace agreement signed by parties to the conflict in 2018. These provisions include establishment of the Hybrid Court for South Sudan, reform of the country’s security and justice sectors, and protection of human rights at all times.

Breaches of embargo

Amnesty recently published a briefing highlighting documented evidence of newly imported small arms and ammunition, illicit concealment of weapons and diversion of armoured vehicles for unauthorised military purposes. This pointed to the failure of the parties to the 2018 peace agreement - including the South Sudanese government - to adhere to the UN embargo, and to implement relevant provisions of the 2018 peace agreement under which they also committed to protect human rights.

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