We understand the UN Security Council will deliberate this week on the situation in South Sudan.
As you know, although South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and armed opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar signed a binding agreement to end the conflict in their country, fighting has continued in Unity and Upper Nile states. As our organizations have documented in detail, the 21-month conflict in South Sudan has been characterized by war crimes and other acts that may also amount to crimes against humanity, and it has clearly been fueled by impunity.
Given the high probability of continuing serious abuses against civilians as part of the ongoing fighting, we urge you to impose a comprehensive arms embargo.
Since this conflict began, fighting and abuses have forced over 2 million people to flee their homes and thousands of civilians have been killed, often targeted because of their ethnicity or perceived political allegiance. The likelihood of further attacks on civilians in South Sudan remains high. A well-monitored arms embargo can reduce the flow and entry of weapons and military equipment into the country that could be used to commit further crimes against civilians.
The Council should also continue to impose sanctions on individuals responsible for crimes under international law and serious violations and abuses of human rights. While the August peace deal may prove to be an important step forward to ending conflict and abuse in South Sudan, it cannot absolve those most responsible for human rights abuses.
Human Rights Watch