Thirty non-governmental organizations, including PAX, have signed a joint letter calling on the United Nations Security Council to impose a comprehensive arms embargo on South Sudan effective immediately.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has requested the Security Council to impose an embargo and to strengthen sanctions on individuals accused of hindering the peace process. "When a government cannot or will not protect its people, and when warring parties seem more intent on enriching and empowering themselves at the expense of their people, the international community has a responsibility to act," he said.
Threat to civilians
The U.N. is in particular concerned with the threat to civilians and to U.N. personnel and property. During the recent fighting, civilians neighbourhoods and U.N. compounds were shelled. “We are very concerned that there is continuing violence, sexual violence against women and girls, and attacks against United Nations humanitarian facilities, and looting of humanitarian assistance which should be used for many hundreds of thousands of people,” Ban said.
Civilians have been targeted more often in this conflict, considered a full-scale civil war between 2013 and 2015 in which as many as 300,000 people were killed. A number of cases of mass killings of civilians took place during the civil war, and some spoke of ethnic cleansing.
The EU already has its own arms embargo for South Sudan, and the US does not provide “lethal assistance” to the country. China has been a major supplier of arms to South Sudan, but in 2015 reportedly adopted a policy of no new arms sales to the country. Both China and Russia have expressed opposition to an arms embargo in the past.