UN Security Council to Consider South Sudan Sanctions

"We believe targeted measures are appropriate at this time to support efforts to establish a peace agreement and cessation of hostilities" - U.S. Ambassador to UN
“We believe targeted measures are appropriate at this time to support efforts to establish a peace agreement and cessation of hostilities” – Ambassador Samantha Power

By VOA News,

THE United Nations Security Council will consider a draft resolution on war-torn South Sudan that would impose sanctions targeting President Salva Kiir and his rival former vice president.

Australian Ambassador Gary Quinlan, whose country currently chairs the 15-member Council, said Tuesday there is “considerable interest” in targeted sanctions and an arms embargo, but he did not announce a timetable.

The United States began imposing bilateral sanctions on South Sudanese officials in May, after Kiir and rival Riek Machar failed to honor a peace agreement ending months of ethnic warfare.

Under that plan, the two feuding officials were to establish a unity government, but the deal never materialized and fighting has continued largely unabated.

Fresh violence in the key northern oil town of Bentiu erupted last week, despite renewed calls from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for an immediate cease-fire.

The Bentiu fighting coincided with the end of the rainy season.

Authorities say at least 10,000 people have been killed since late last year in violence that pits Kiir’s ethnic Dinka group against Machar’s Nuer people.

The fighting has also displaced more than 1 million others.

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Right Groups Renew Calls for Arms Embargo on S. Sudan

By Sudan Tribune,

OVER 50 domestic and international human right groups urged South Sudan’s neighbours to urgently call on United Nations Security Council to put in place an arms embargo that could end the conflict in the young nation.

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 stressed.

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 centered 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. t

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 Organization.

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

Regional leaders and the regional 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.