UN: South Sudan arms embargo crucial after massive Chinese weapons transfer

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL, PRESS RELEASE:

17. July 2014.

The United Nations Security Council must impose a comprehensive arms embargo on South Sudan, Amnesty International urged after receiving reports of Chinese small arms and ammunition proliferation amongst both sides in the conflict.

The organization also has confirmed that China supplied a further 1,000 tonnes of small arms and light weapons worth US$38 million to the country just over two weeks ago.

“China is playing a dangerous diplomatic game with the lives of millions of people in South Sudan. It has pledged to provide peacekeeping troops to protect civilians, and at the same time has sent over 1,000 tonnes of arms,” said Elizabeth Ashamu Deng, South Sudan Researcher at Amnesty International.

“Such arms are likely to fall into the hands of both parties to the conflict and be used to fuel the atrocities threatening civilian lives.”

The Security Council, of which China is a permanent member, has already condemned violations of international humanitarian law in South Sudan, including extrajudicial executions and ethnically targeted violence.

In May, the Security Council amended the mandate of the UN peacekeeping force in South Sudan (UNMISS) to focus on protection of civilians, supporting the implementation of the cessation of hostilities agreement, investigating human rights abuses and violations and creating conditions for delivery of humanitarian assistance. China has pledged a full battalion of some 850 troops to join this peacekeeping operation.

A UN arms embargo designed to help stop gross violations of human rights and war crimes would require every state to take all necessary measures to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer of arms to South Sudan. Pending such an embargo, states should immediately suspend international arms transfers to South Sudan.

The Chinese shipment

Chinese state-owned defence manufacturer NORINCO sent more than 1,000 tonnes of weapons and munitions worth millions of dollars to the South Sudanese government armed forces in a shipment that arrived last month. It included rocket systems, thousands of automatic rifles and grenade launchers, 20,000 grenades, hundreds of pistols and machine guns, and several million rounds of ammunition.

According to the shipping documents and related information, the massive arms shipment was loaded onto the Hong Kong-based vessel Feng Huang Song in two batches before leaving the Chinese ports of Dalian on 8 May and Zhanjiang on 15 May 2014. It reached Mombasa, Kenya on 7 June and the cargo was unloaded three days later, destined for the South Sudanese government in Juba in fulfilment of a contract signed on 3 April, 2013.

Amnesty International is aware of reliable reports that Chinese ammunition manufactured in 2013 for Chinese-made CQ assault rifles has recently been used by armed opposition fighters as well as government-aligned armed groups. CQ 5.56×45 assault rifles were first observed in South Sudan in 2013 with South Sudanese rebel groups, some of whom stated they had been armed by Sudan. In addition, Chinese heavy machine-gun ammunition manufactured in 2013 has been found in the hands of fighters of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), a Darfuri rebel group that has fought alongside South Sudanese government forces and committed grave human rights abuses.

“This additional flow and proliferation of deadly equipment from China into South Sudan’s raging war will set the country back decades and pave the way for increased criminality and violence among civilians – even long after the current armed conflict ends,” said Elizabeth Ashamu Deng.

“Given the ongoing pattern of atrocities in South Sudan, it is a no-brainer that these weapons and munitions will be used to commit and facilitate further serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. The Security Council must roundly condemn any such flows of weapons and impose a comprehensive embargo on all arms transfers to South Sudan.”

Ongoing atrocities

Since the armed conflict erupted on 15 December 2013, the USA and European Union have already suspended military support to South Sudan. The decisions came amid ongoing crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by both South Sudanese government and opposition forces.

On two recent missions to South Sudan, including one this month, Amnesty International documented how both sides have targeted people, including women and children, based on their ethnicity. They have killed individuals seeking refuge in hospitals and places of worship. These atrocities have generally involved the use of small arms and light weapons.

“The rebels shot dead the four people in the beds next to mine,” a civilian patient named John told Amnesty International, referring to a raid on Malakal hospital by forces loyal to former Vice President Dr Riek Machar in mid-February 2014. Individuals have also been shot dead in hospitals in Bor and Bentiu.

In the South Sudanese capital Juba, too, civilians have repeatedly been targeted using small arms and light weapons. A resident of the city’s Jebel Kujur area described to Amnesty International how government soldiers attacked his home on 17 December 2013:

“My house was surrounded with heavy artillery and many soldiers as well. Gun shots were fired at me and my relatives in the house, and three of them were killed on the spot.”

Nyaliap witnessed the massacre of 11 men in Pariang County, Unity state by government forces in December 2013. A group of about 20 soldiers “stripped them naked and tied their hands behind their backs. They lined them up…and they [shot] them from behind.”

Amnesty International continues to call for accountability for all those responsible for such actions by government and opposition forces, which constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other serious human rights violations.

Background

The Bloomberg news agency reported on the Chinese arms transfer on 9 July (“China Sells South Sudan Arms as Its Government Talks Peace” by Ilya Gridneff) and also released the shipping documents to Jane’s Defence Weekly (“South Sudan takes delivery of Chinese ATGWs” by Jeremy Binnie).

The Chinese company NORINCO combines manufacturing, research and trading of arms and related equipment.

Between 2007 and 2008 various large shipments of arms arrived in South Sudan from Ukraine via Mombasa. It is not clear if Ukraine was aware that South Sudan government forces were the intended end-user, and not Kenya, as stated in the documentation.

Links:

Wel, Paan Luel – ‘AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: South Sudan arms embargo crucial after massive Chinese weapons transfer” (17.07.2014)

Link: http://paanluelwel.com/2014/07/18/un-south-sudan-arms-embargo-crucial-after-massive-chinese-weapons-transfer/ 

Sepp Blatter/FIFA need a village to race it – Qatargate continues.

There is an African proverb which is saying: It takes a village to race a child. Why do I start with that? Well, it’s a just two days before the 2014 World Cup in Brazil begins in Sao Paolo. Let me say it’s seven points to adress FIFA with and also their president Sepp Blatter. So here we go..

First, when money talks to the main body of Football – FIFA. Starts with a suspicion from Sony, Adidas, Coca-Cola, Visa and Hyundai/Kia are asking that the process of the bid to Qatar was done without graft and corruption (BBC, 2014). This they do is to save face, because Sony and the other five companies want to share the spoils of a happy event. Not being part of sports activity that is sending the wrong message which doesn’t fit the companies.

Second, CAF is mad. CAF answered with: “that the authors of this smearing and defamatory campaign against African football leaders are brought to book”. Also responded with:” its total and unreserved support to all wrongfully incriminated Africans (..) [We] Condemn the strategy of using African sport movements and its leaders as scapegoats by those who are trying at all cost to acquire a good conscience for themselves”. Issa Hayatou is denying the accusations that of recent (Afrikansoccer, 2014). We all expected this kind of answers. Nobody wants to say their getting gifts and paid to vote a certain way. That the Asian Football body hasn’t answered as hard as CAF is more astonishing considering that Bin Hammam was leading that Football Body at the time of the bid. But hat is just me.

Third, Sepp Blatter the chief of FIFA is in heavy weather. He is attacking anything that moves in his sight which isn’t showing him either love or money. Attack one is that British Media where he claim them trying to demolish FIFA and his presidency. Where his quoted with this: “Once again there is a sort of storm against FIFA relating to the Qatar World Cup. Sadly there’s a great deal of discrimination and racism and this hurts me. It really makes me sad”. To address the British press: “we have seen what the British press has published,’ he said. ‘I don’t know what the reasoning is behind this but we must maintain unity” (Lawton, 2014). Somebody need give Sepp a hug. Then he needs a straight talk of the facts on the ground. This not anything of what he believes it is. It’s true that he is under fire. The flame is burning hot and not giving him peace. Blatter thought that the issue of the sun of Qatar would die away. That the special vagina stadium and bid would bite him in his behind is sure something that Blatter never thought would happen, since he is chief and nobody refuse his actions or decisions. That the British is pissed over losing the bid is sure something we all knew by now. It isn’t even relevant at this point. That is just a fact that he can use against them, but certainly they use all the information and sources to address it. To make sure that next time they place a bid they should have a fair chance of getting the almighty Football World Cup.

Fourth, the deaths of foreign workers in Qatar have already made the reputation of the host nation as bad investment and not a joyful place into ruins. In May Bloomberg reported of the deaths of 164 Nepali, 450 Indian and estimated total death into the numbers of 4000 during the whole building period in Qatar (Boudway, 2014). If nothing gets done by this, it’s already to many lives lost for us who loves this event. Nobody should die while building the stadiums and infrastructure. It’s insane and wonder what powers is to be to let this happen. True there has been reporting of this, but the laws of foreign guest workers in Qatar should be fixed, mended made sure of their safety and also pay for their work. But that might happen in a dream world.

Sixth, resurrection of the confederation cup demonstration has returned. In Sao Paolo the metro workers suspended their work for two days.  On Monday this ended with clashes with Police. Something sure FIFA doesn’t need before the joyous occasion. FIFA wouldn’t like that the metro stops before the opening match (Watson, 2014). Sure this doesn’t look good, if the fans don’t arrive to make a big noise at the match, then it’s like losing one of the feel-good factors of the tournament. We all know that, but everybody understands the Metro Workers union since they just want enough money to fit with inflation in Brazil.

Seventh, Sepp Blatter’s main position as President isn’t as solid anymore. A few European Football chairmen are asking the big man to step down. Greg Dyke of FA, Michael Van Praag of Dutch FA is taking this position against Blatter (Penderville, 2014). There must be a bad day to Sepp, but he has made this stew. So now it is time to eat it.

It takes a village to raise a kid the proverb, the kid is FIFA and Sepp Blatter. We need to raise the kid together somehow with the means and knowledge we have. We all can see the issues in both Brazil and coming events of Qatar. There are enough things and actions to question and we should put it into order. The bad press and issues should be solved in public not in hidden rooms of Geneva. There will be transparency to make sure that FIFA does the right thing and acts as a proper

Links:

AfrikanSoccer (10.06.2014): CAF General Assembly slams media over Qatar 2022 bribing allegations. http://www.afrikansoccer.com/2014/06/caf-general-assembly-slams-media-over-qatar-2022-bribing-allegations/

BBC (09.06.2014): Qatar 2022: FIFA sponsors back corruption investigation.

http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/27751265

Boudway, Ira (14.05.2014): The 2022 FIFA World Cup Could Be Deadly for Qatar’s Migrant Workers. http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-05-14/the-2022-fifa-world-cup-could-be-deadly-for-qatars-migrant-workers

Lawton, Matt, Daily Mail, (09.06.2014): You are RACISTS – as World Cup corruption scandal engulfs FIFA, a brazen Sepp Blatter lashes out at his critics in British media. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/worldcup2014/article-2653335/Sepp-Blatter-calls-British-media-racists-World-Cup-corruption-scandal-engulfs-FIFA.html

Penderville, Liam Mirror.co.uk, (10.06.2014): Sepp Blatter row: Senior UEFA, English FA and Dutch FA officials call for FIFA President to stand down.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/sepp-blatter-row-senior-uefa-3671669#ixzz34Go8WZvX

Watson, Katy, BBC, (10.06.2014): Sao Paulo metro strike suspended for two days.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-27761723