The Global Centre signed on to the following statement, together with 29 other organizations, regarding the situation in South Sudan on 21 July 2016
As human rights, humanitarian, and peacebuilding organizations, we call on the UN Security Council to impose an immediate arms embargo on South Sudan.
The Transitional Government of National Unity, led by President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Machar, is failing to uphold its responsibility to protect populations in South Sudan from mass atrocities. The UN Security Council must act now to protect civilians.
In line with the UN Secretary-General’s recommendations, the UN Security Council should impose a comprehensive global arms embargo on the country. This should include the supply, sale, transfer, maintenance, and operation of all weapons, ammunition, military vehicles and equipment, and related services. This will help reduce unlawful attacks on civilians. It will send a strong message that the international community will not enable those fighters who have shown a complete disregard for the laws of war easy access to weapons and ammunition with which they can rearm and commit or facilitate further abuses.
We encourage the UN Security Council to adhere to the Code of Conduct, endorsed by 112 governments, which calls upon all members of the Council not to vote against a credible draft resolution aimed at preventing or halting mass atrocities.
As you know, on 7 July violence resumed in Juba between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and the SPLA in Opposition (SPLA-IO). The UN has reported that hundreds of people were killed, including two UN peacekeepers, in five days of fierce fighting before a cessation of hostilities was called by both sides. Tanks, helicopter gunships and heavy weaponry were used; civilian neighborhoods were shelled, during which a maternity ward was hit. Thousands of civilians fled to UN compounds which were also hit by mortar and heavy artillery. Indiscriminate attacks and attacks on UN personnel are serious violations of international humanitarian law and may constitute war crimes.
A comprehensive global arms embargo on South Sudan would help secure the safety of South Sudanese civilians. We urge you to put one in place urgently, and we would be pleased to discuss these issues further.
Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies
The Graduate Center, CUNY
365 Fifth Avenue, Suite 5203
New York, NY 10016-4309, USA