Obama should support arms embargo on South Sudan

Image: A South Sudanese man holding a HK G3. Photo Steve Evans 2011 / CC flickr.com/photos/babasteve/

January 8, 2015

US President Barack Obama should call for and support a comprehensive United Nations arms embargo on the parties to South Sudan’s brutal conflict. So 29 South Sudanese and international human rights, humanitarian and other groups including PAX said today in a letter to President Obama.

“More weapons will mean more fuel to the fire, more attacks on civilians, arbitrary killings, rape, burnings and pillage,” said Geoffrey Duke, secretariat team leader at the South Sudan Action Network on Small Arms, one of the subscribing organizations. “President Obama should do everything he can to ensure that this year is not a repeat of the horrific last year for South Sudanese. Now is the time to take action.”

Humanitarian disaster
Thousands of civilians have been killed in the conflict, which began just over a year ago, in many cases targeted for their ethnicity or perceived political allegiances. An estimated 1.9 million people have been displaced, and massive looting and burning by both government and opposition forces has left towns and rural areas destroyed and abandoned.

South Sudan’s conflict looks set to continue, and the organizations are concerned that further crimes under international law and serious human rights violations and abuses are likely.

Nongovernmental organizations like PAX have been calling for an arms embargo on South Sudan since early 2014. The US is responsible for drafting resolutions and statements on South Sudan at the UN Security Council.

Read here the letter from the 29 organizations to President Obama.

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