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UN Extends South Sudan Arms Embargo

UN Extends South Sudan Arms Embargo

Saturday, 30 May, 2020 - 04:45
FILE PHOTO: Members of the United Nations Security Council gather during a meeting about the situation in Venezuela, in New York, US, February 26, 2019. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

The UN Security Council on Friday adopted a US-drafted resolution extending individual sanctions and an arms embargo in South Sudan through May 2021, despite reluctance from Russia, China and South Africa.

The three countries have argued that sanctions are not conducive to promoting the peace process, so they abstained on the resolution, which passed 12-0.

The Council additionally scheduled a midterm review to take place by December 15 and expressed its "readiness to consider adjusting measures... including through modifying, suspending, lifting or strengthening."

The Security Council was also asked to provide a report by the end of October on the role of the arms embargo in implementing a 2018 peace agreement as well as provide options for developing benchmarks.

South Sudan President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar, the rebel leader who is now first vice president, reached a deal to form a unity government in February but remain at odds over issues including who will govern the country's 10 internal states.

South Sudan is emerging from a brutal six-year civil war that left 380,000 dead and millions displaced.

In a statement Friday, Amnesty International welcomed the renewal of the arms embargo.

"It is crucial to curtailing the flow of weapons that have been used to commit war crimes, human rights violations and abuses," said Deprose Muchena, the group's director for East and Southern Africa, calling on all UN members to apply the embargo.

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

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