Petition to members of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development– immediate embargo on arms supplies to South Sudan
We, the undersigned, call on members of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to immediately impose a comprehensive arms embargo on South Sudan. We also call on IGAD to issue a communiqué requesting that the United Nations (UN) Security Council adopt a resolution imposing a comprehensive international arms embargo.
Since the conflict in South Sudan broke out in December 2013, tens of thousands of people, many of them civilians, have been killed and 1.8 million forced to flee their homes. Parties to the conflict have used small arms and light weapons, and a range of other conventional arms and military equipment, to facilitate and commit war crimes and crimes against humanity. These include targeting individuals, including women and children, based on their ethnicity, and killing civilians seeking refuge in hospitals and places of worship.
Any additional weapons imported into South Sudan are likely to be used to commit further atrocities.
So far, agreements to cease hostilities and protect civilians have failed. Representatives of the government and the opposition forces signed a cessation of hostilities agreement on 23 January 2014, and agreed to renew this agreement on 5 May 2014. On 9 May 2014, President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar, leader of the opposition forces, signed an agreement “to resolve the conflict.” However, these agreements have not only been ignored by both sides, they have also failed to deter both forces from carrying out targeted violence against civilians. An arms embargo is needed to halt the supply of weapons to individuals and groups who have committed gross violations of human rights, war crimes and crimes against humanity and to protect civilians at grave risk.
An arms embargo, first imposed by IGAD and then by the UN Security Council, would require every state to take measures to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer of arms to South Sudan. Such an embargo should last until effective mechanisms can ensure that weapons, munitions and other military equipment and technology sent to South Sudan will not be used to commit or facilitate serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. It must also ensure that alleged violations of the embargo are thoroughly and impartially investigated and a system of accountability is put in place, so that any person responsible for a deliberate violation is brought to justice in a fair trial.
Even before an IGAD arms embargo comes into effect, we call on IGAD’s member states to immediately suspend international arms transfers to South Sudan.