JUBA — Amnesty International has welcomed the United Nation Security Council’s move to renew the arms embargo on South Sudan, describing it as positive step in efforts to curb conflict-related sexual violence.
The UN Security Council on Thursday adopted a resolution to renew for a year, till May 31, 2023, an arms embargo against South Sudan.
Resolution 2633 also renews targeted sanctions of travel ban and asset freeze against individuals and entities and extends the mandate of the Panel of Experts, which assists the work of the South Sudan Sanctions Committee, till July 1, 2023.
“The renewal of the arms embargo is a step in the right direction and it is crucial to curtailing the flow of weapons that have been used to commit or facilitate war crimes, human rights violations and abuses including conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV). South Sudan and all other UN members’ states, particularly neighbouring states, should diligently enforce it,” said Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa, Deprose Muchena.
He added, “We also welcome the preservation of the integrity of the benchmarks adopted by resolution 2577 in May 2021, and particularly the maintaining of the implementation of the Action Plan for the armed forces on addressing CRSV in South Sudan as a benchmark against which any future amendment of the arms embargo will be reviewed.”
South Sudan has repeatedly called for the arms embargo to be lifted.
In May, a United Nations panel of experts recommended that the Security Council should extend the arms embargo on South Sudan, citing “persistent” cease-fire violations and intensifying violence in the country.
“Given the high prevalence of CRSV in the country and endemic impunity with which it is met, we particularly welcome that the Council reiterated its call on the government to establish the Hybrid Court for South Sudan,” stressed Muchena, adding that special emphasis be put on protection of victims, witnesses and judicial actors and criminal accountability, including transitioning from using military courts to civilian courts to prosecute crimes.
Edmund Yakani, the Executive Director for Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) said arms embargo is a pre-condition from the international community for holding conflicting parties in South Sudan accountable for individual and community safety and protection matters.
“The slow implementation of the security sector reform tasks, such as graduation of the proposed unified forces and embracing the rule of law. The ongoing deadly armed violence among our communities made the control of arms flow reliable for us in South Sudan,” he said on Friday.
He urged the Government of South Sudan to its double efforts in the implementation of the transitional security arrangements.
On 28 May 2021, the UN Security Council renewed its arms embargo on the territory of South Sudan, which it first imposed in 2018, and identified the implementation of the 2021 action plan as one of five benchmarks against which renewal of the arms embargo would be reviewed in May 2022.