Petition to members of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development– immediate embargo on arms supplies to South Sudan

en

4 September 2014

We, the undersigned, call on members of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development
(IGAD) to immediately impose a comprehensive arms embargo on South Sudan. We also call on
IGAD to issue a communiqué requesting the United Nations (UN) Security Council to adopt a
resolution imposing a comprehensive international arms embargo.

Since the conflict in South Sudan broke out in December 2013, tens of thousands of people,
many of them civilians, have been killed and 1.5 million forced to flee their homes. Human
rights organizations, including Amnesty International and the South Sudan Action Network on
Small Arms (SSANSA), have documented how both sides in this conflict have used small arms
and light weapons to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity. These include targeting
individuals, including women and children, based on their ethnicity, and killing civilians seeking
refuge in hospitals and places of worship.

As long as these weapons are imported into South Sudan, they are likely to be used to commit
further atrocities.

So far, agreements to cease hostilities and protect civilians have failed. Representatives of the
government and the opposition forces signed a cessation of hostilities agreement on 23 January
2014, and agreed to renew this agreement on 5 May 2014. On 9 May 2014, President Salva Kiir
and Riek Machar, leader of the opposition forces, signed an agreement “to resolve the conflict.”
However, these agreements have not only been ignored by both sides, they have also failed to
deter both forces from carrying out targeted violence against civilians. An arms embargo is
needed to halt the supply of weapons to individuals and groups who have committed gross
violations of human rights, war crimes and crimes against humanity and to protect civilians at
grave risk.

An arms embargo, first imposed by IGAD and then by the UN Security Council, would require
every state to take measures to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer of arms to
South Sudan. Such an embargo should last until effective mechanisms can ensure that weapons,
munitions and other military equipment and technology sent to South Sudan will not be used to
commit or facilitate serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. It
must also ensure that alleged violations of the embargo are thoroughly and impartially
investigated and a system of accountability is put in place, so that any person responsible for a
deliberate violation is brought to justice in a fair trial.

Even before an IGAD arms embargo comes into effect, we call on IGAD’s member states to
immediately suspend international arms transfers to South Sudan.

Signed,

  • African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies
  • Amnesty International
  • Assistance Missions for Africa
  • Association of Media Women in South Sudan
  • Charity Aid Foundation
  • Citizens for Peace and Justice
  • Clip-Poverty
  • Community Empowerment for Progress Organization
  • Cordaid
  • East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project
  • End Impunity Organization
  • Equatoria Rehabilitation and Development Association
  • Global Witness
  • Human Rights Development Organization-South Sudan
  • Human Rights Watch
  • Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust
  • International Centre for Policy and Conflict
  • Juba Civic Engagement Centre
  • Justice Africa
  • Organization for Nonviolence and Development
  • Pan-African Nonviolence and Peacebuilding Network
  • PAX
  • Rally for Peace and Democracy
  • Save the Children
  • Seed for Democracy for South Sudan
  • South Sudan Action Network on Small Arms
  • South Sudan Human Rights Society for Advocacy
  • South Sudan Law Society
  • Soweto Community Based Organization
  • Standard Action Liaison Focus
  • Support Peace Initiative Development Organization-South Sudan
  • The ROOTS Project
  • Voice for Change – South Sudan
  • Voice for Nyala
  • Waging Peace
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