Human rights watchdog Amnesty International has called on the UN Security Council to renew its arms embargo on South Sudan, saying security forces have violated the sanctions.
The UN Security Council first slapped an arms embargo on South Sudan in 2018 and subsequently renewed it in 2019 to prevent a continuation of the country’s civil war.
The arms embargo empowers all UN Member States to prevent arms and related equipment of all types – including weapons and ammunition, military vehicles and equipment, paramilitary equipment, and any spare parts – from entering South Sudan.
Next month, the Security Council is set to vote on a resolution that would either renew or end the embargo, which currently expires on 31 May 2020.
But Amnesty International is now pushing for an extension of the sanctions.
In a report on Thursday, the organization says it has obtained new evidence that multiple security forces belonging to the government and opposition groups are breaching the arms embargo “and concealing weapons amid a volatile security situation.”
The human rights watchdog reveals that its investigators earlier this year gained access to 12 military training and cantonment sites across the country run by the SSPDF, SPLA-IO, SSOA, and organized forces.
It says it discovered prove of newly imported small arms and ammunition, illicit concealment of weapons, and diversion of armored vehicles for military use not approved under the arms transfer licenses.
The organization further states that government and former opposition forces deceived ceasefire monitors in their reporting on security arrangements.
Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa says “the African Union has dubbed 2020 the year to ‘silence the guns’ on the continent, which, as they have stated, includes taking measures to prevent UN arms embargo violations.
“Renewing the embargo on South Sudan is a crucial part of this effort. Weapons have been used to commit horrific human rights violations and war crimes throughout the conflict,” he added.
Muchena says “it is not the time to let more weapons flow into South Sudan when the ceasefire continues to be broken sporadically,” and the implementation of critical security, governance and accountability arrangements persistently delayed.”
See the full report here: https://bit.ly/2W7uxiu
The government of South Sudan is yet to respond to the report.
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