April 29, 2020 (Thessherald)– Amnesty International, an international human rights group has appealed to the UN Security Council to renew and strengthen enforcement of the arms embargo imposed on South Sudan, according to the group’s statement obtained by The South Sudan Herald on Wednesday.
As the existing arms embargo comes to an end next month, the United Nations Security Council is expected to vote on a resolution that would renew the global arms restrictions for an extended period of time.
Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa slammed South Sudan’s military leaders for using lethal
weapons during the conflict to perpetrate horrific human rights abuses.
“Weapons have been used to commit horrific human rights violations and war crimes throughout the conflict,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa said in a statement.
“Most of the hundreds of rifles and other small arms that Amnesty International investigators observed in the hands of soldiers were acquired prior to the embargo the UN Security Council imposed on all of South Sudan in July 2018.”
“However, several bodyguards for prominent generals from government and opposition forces alike, who would have first access to newly acquired weapons, carried models of Eastern European weapons never before documented in the country.”
Amnesty International therefore believes that these weapons were brought into South Sudan in violation of the arms embargo.
The rights group has also acquired verified photographs of ammunition used by the National Security Service (NSS) at Luri, a highly secretive NSS base outside South Sudan’s capital, Juba.
“The images show Chinese cartridges manufactured in 2016, after China’s last acknowledged sale to South Sudan. Either these cartridges breached the arms embargo, were secretly sold beforehand, or were acquired from a third-party seller who would have broken the embargo or illicitly diverted the ammunition.”
“Sources have told Amnesty International that at the time the arms embargo was established, the South Sudan government’s fleet of Mi-24 attack helicopters was dysfunctional and grounded. Since then it has acquired spare parts to refurbish the helicopters, violating the arms embargo.”