Home | News    Wednesday 5 November 2014

Rights groups renew calls for arms embargo on S. Sudan

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November 5, 2014 (NAIROBI/JUBA) – Over 50 domestic and international human right groups urged South Sudan’s neighbours to urgently call on United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to put in place an arms embargo that could end the conflict in the young nation.

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Arms and light weapons have been used by both warring parties in South Sudan to commit abuses (Photo courtesy of SSANSA)

The group, in its petition to regional leaders, deplored the ongoing attacks on civilians in South Sudan, saying it resulted to the current humanitarian crisis.

Despite a ceasefire agreement, military clashes between the country’s warring parties continued to undermine peace efforts.

A regional summit, organised by the Intergovernmental Authority of Development (IGAD), is due on Thursday, 6 November, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to discuss the South Sudan situation. Expected at the summit, will be the presidents of Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia.

“South Sudanese civilians are desperate and need regional leadership to help protect them,” said Geoffrey Duke, secretariat team leader at the South Sudan Action Network on Small Arms.

“More weapons will mean these civilians will face more abusive attacks: killings, rape, burnings [and] pillage. Now is the time to take action,” he said.

Tens of thousands have been killed and over 1.5 million displaced since fighting broke out late last year following stand-offs within the country’s ruling party. It mainly centred on calls for party reforms.

Currently, an estimated 100,000 people live in UN protection of civilian sites, with nearly half of them in the oil-rich Unity state alone.

“Regional leaders should emerge from the November 6 summit with a clear request to the UN Security Council to impose a comprehensive arms embargo on South Sudan,” rights bodies said.

Specifically, the group called on IGAD to make public reports by its ceasefire monitors in South Sudan, including allegations of war crimes committed by forces involved in the current armed struggle.

Both warring sides in the South Sudan war, earlier reports indicated, have committed war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.

“Despite the threat, no action has been taken, just endless second, third, fourth chances to the benefit of the belligerents and the detriment of civilians,” said James Ninrew, executive director at Assistance Mission for Africa (AMA).

“The dry season is upon us and across the conflict area communities are afraid that yet again they will be attacked,” he added.

The IGAD regional leaders have already set up a monitoring body in South Sudan to investigate violations of the ceasefire, including the agreement by both sides not to attack civilians or their property, both of which can constitute war crimes under international law.

There are, however, concerns that mediators have kept monitoring reports private, despite repeated calls by rights groups and others to make the reports public, especially reports of serious crimes.

“Monitors have an important task to help reduce violations against civilians by showing abusive forces that they are being watched,” said Angelina Seeka, regional director at the End Impunity Organisation.

“But monitoring attacks is all in vain if these reports are kept under wraps,” she added.

Regional leaders and the mediators have threatened tough action on the parties to the conflict in the face of continuing clashes and attacks on civilians’ homes, churches, hospitals, and UN bases.

(ST)

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  • 5 November 2014 09:35, by mzalendo mwema

    Your are self proclaimed human right groups,

    Stopping South Sudan goverment or rebels from buying arms is not effective strategy.

    What you should do is United Nations to bring in its troops with only 45 days to carry out disarmament on both sides and leave south Sudan soil one day after 45.
    During that period new president and governors must be elected and whoever must face the music

    repondre message

  • 5 November 2014 09:36, by mzalendo mwema

    You are self proclaimed human right groups,

    Stopping South Sudan goverment or rebels from buying arms is not effective strategy.

    What you should do is United Nations to bring in its troops with only 45 days to carry out disarmament on both sides and leave south Sudan soil one day after 45.
    During that period new president and governors must be elected and whoever must face the music

    repondre message

    • 5 November 2014 23:17, by Bentiu Sudan

      Right Groups Or wrong groups, you are so foolish groups it would be a waste of valuable time for someone to comment on your strategies. You need to take side and condemn the wrong side. A neutral person never solve problem. You are just wasting space with those bullshits posts of yours.

      repondre message

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