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Watchdog Urges UNSC to Keep Arms Embargo on South Sudan Amid Surge in Violence

Sputnik News

10:41 GMT 30.11.2020

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - A prominent international human rights watchdog has called on the UN Security Council to maintain the arms embargo on South Sudan amid confirmed cases of violence and attacks by government forces on civilians in 2020.

"Earlier this year, as South Sudan's officials called for the arms embargo to be lifted, government soldiers were shooting civilians, burning homes, raping women and girls, and displacing tens of thousands of people from their villages in the south of the country," Amnesty International's East and Southern Africa Director Deprose Muchena said, as quoted in a press release.

The statistics compiled by a third party revealed a 400% increase in violence compared to the same period in 2019, Amnesty went on.

"Quite simply, the government of South Sudan has failed to protect its people. It would be irresponsible of the Security Council to suspend or lift the arms embargo now, in light of the horrendous human rights violations being committed by government forces," Muchena said.

Amnesty International released a report on Monday documenting a series of extrajudicial executions, forced displacements, tortures and destruction of civilian property by government forces in South Sudan between April and June 2020. The report comes as the UN Security Council is set to conduct a mid-term review of its arms embargo and other measures on South Sudan before 15 December.

Much of South Sudan's leadership was placed under sanctions by the UN Security Council in 2018 after years of civil war. The sanctions, which were renewed this year until mid-2021, place an arms embargo among other measures intended to restrict the defense sector. The government and rebel groups agreed on a power-sharing peace deal in February this year and have subsequently called for lifting the sanctions.

South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011. Since 2013, it has been engulfed in a violent armed conflict between two rival ethnic groups, Dinka and Nuer, which has killed thousands of people and forced millions of others to leave their homes.

© Sputnik

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