News / Africa

    Advocacy Groups: Sanctions, Arms Embargo, Tribunal Needed for S. Sudan

    FILE - Some of more than 30,000 people who flocked into Leer town, South Sudan, to receive food from the International Committee of the Red Cross, Dec. 15, 2015, which marks the two-year anniversary of South Sudan's civil war.
    FILE - Some of more than 30,000 people who flocked into Leer town, South Sudan, to receive food from the International Committee of the Red Cross, Dec. 15, 2015, which marks the two-year anniversary of South Sudan's civil war.
    Jill Craig

    War crimes, including killings, systematic rape, and forced disappearances remain daily occurrences in South Sudan, as highlighted in reports this month from the United Nations, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Some advocacy groups say sanctions and other targeted measures could make an impact where a peace deal has failed.

    The situation in South Sudan rapidly deteriorated after fighting broke out in December 2013, resulting in “serious and systematic violence against civilians,” according to the U.N.
     
    Amnesty International found that government forces suffocated more than 60 men and boys to death in Unity State last October, and Human Rights Watch has found evidence of “grave abuses” in the Western Equatoria region.
     
    Ian Schwab is the director of advocacy and impact strategy at the Enough Project, a Washington-based Africa advocacy group.
     
    “What we see is a situation where there’s gross violations of human rights, looting of state coffers and natural resources, and all the while, a total lack of accountability for any of these, you know, for any of these horrific crimes that are being reported,” said Schwab.
     
    Signatories to an August 2015 peace deal have yet to form a transitional national unity government, originally planned for November. President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar continue to disagree over the demilitarization of Juba, among other issues.

    FILE - South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar, center-left, shakes hands with South Sudan's President Salva Kiir, center-right wearing a black hat, after lengthy peace negotiations in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Aug. 17, 2015.
    FILE - South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar, center-left, shakes hands with South Sudan's President Salva Kiir, center-right wearing a black hat, after lengthy peace negotiations in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Aug. 17, 2015.

    Violence has continued, and the country is in the grips of a full-fledged humanitarian crisis with more than two million people displaced and the U.N. warning of famine.
     
    The Enough Project is recommending targeted sanctions.

    “Well, we think the best places to start are to designate higher level officials that are involved in these crimes and to make sure that those sanctions designations are enforced. We’re not talking about any sort of comprehensive sanctions that would impact the country. We’re looking at particular individuals that have been complicit and directed these types of crimes and have been looting state resources,” he said.

    Arms embargo
     
    Human Rights Watch senior Africa researcher Jehanne Henry suggests the U.N. impose a comprehensive arms embargo on South Sudan.

    “We think that an arms embargo should have been applied a long time ago, the conflict started in December of 2013, and some of the worst episodes of fighting happened in the weeks and months that followed. We think that an arms embargo was appropriate back then, at the beginning, when it was so clear that that was a war that was being waged not between soldiers but against civilians,” said Henry.

    FILE - South Sudan government soldiers in the town of Koch, Unity state, Sept. 25, 2015.
    FILE - South Sudan government soldiers in the town of Koch, Unity state, Sept. 25, 2015.


    South Sudan has been free to engage in state-to-state transfers in arms, without restrictions from sellers. Ukraine, for example, has sold the government light and heavy machine guns, as well as attack helicopters.
     
    Countries such as Britain and France support the idea of an embargo. The United States has argued that an arms embargo would give rebel forces an advantage, with Russia, China and Angola also opposed.
     
    Human Rights Watch is also calling for the African Union to fast track plans to set up a hybrid court for South Sudan.
     
    “It sends a message that people will be held responsible for allowing these abuses or for carrying them out,” said Henry.
     
    The peace deal briefly raised hopes the fighting and rights violations would come to an end. But seven months later, many observers are questioning the deal's value.

    They say the time has come for the international community to take new steps to end the misery in South Sudan.

    You May Like

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Tolio
    March 16, 2016 9:38 AM
    There are no rape,burning of civilians and forced cannibalism. They are all conspiracies .

    by: Khalid AlMubarak from: UK
    March 16, 2016 7:12 AM
    Why is there no call for ICC involvement?The human rights violations are well-documented.The ICC is not the solution ;but the fact that it was mobilised in the case of Darfur but not South Sudan demonstrates that it is politicised,manipulated only when convenient.The US was right not to join the ICC.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora