UN Security Council told to actualize S. Sudan arms embargo

The Human Rights Watch has called on the UN Security Council to actualize its arms embargo threats against South Sudan during its siting on Friday.

The Council is expected to vote whether to impose an arms embargo and targeted sanctions on South Sudan.

In May, the Security Council voted to renew for 45 days the sanctions it imposed in 2015 on those blocking peace in South Sudan.

But it was considering further measures — including an arms embargo — if fighting continues amid ongoing mediation efforts.

“Fast forward to late June, when South Sudan’s leaders – under increasing pressure from the international community – signed another peace deal to end the nearly five-year long war,” read a statement by the Human Rights Watch.

“However, it as has happened before, the parties broke the ceasefire within hours of signing it.”

This has been coupled with the recent report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights of gross violations committed by the SPLA and armed groups.

“How can I forget the sight of an old man whose throat was slit with a knife before being set afire?” a 14-year-old girl was quoted as saying in the report.

It laid bare the suffering of South Sudan’s civilians at the hands their own government, according to the rights body.

It said many abuses in the report including murder and rape appear to be war crimes, and are consistent with previous abuses perpetrated during offensives it documented.

“Now, the Security Council has an opportunity to turn its warnings into decisive action,” stressed Joyce Bukuru, the Senior Advocacy Coordinator at the HRW.

The rights watchdog added that the Council should impose both individual sanctions and a long overdue arms embargo on South Sudan, which through reducing the flow of weapons can mitigate risk of harm to civilians.