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South Sudan: UNMISS – POC Update (16.07.2018)

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Opinion: Museveni will not respect the South Sudanese Arms Embargo!

It is a noble idea to have an Arms Embargo in South Sudan, as the civil war and the never-ending negotiations of peace is continuing, even as the Khartoum Declaration and Outstanding Issues are working in tandem, even as the IGAD High Level Revitalization Forum have sort of failed and only given the republic empty promises. As the partners haven’t agreed totally or even respected the cease-fire starting on the 1st July 2018. There still been skirmishes and attacks, which wasn’t supposed to appear.

With this in mind the negotiation and peace dialogue in Entebbe haven’t been fruitful or delivered. In this spirit it isn’t weird, as he has been a starch supporter of President Salva Kiir Mayardit and the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU). That has been proven in the past, latest in February, when he promised to serve weapons to Kiir, even if there was imposed an embargo. Therefore, his words yesterday are important. Also show the provisions of the Arms Embargo in the end.

In February 2018:

I want to you tell this, and whether you believe it or not, the government will never fail to acquire weapons by any means. What the foreign countries, including the United States of America, are doing is a pursuit of regime change which nobody will entertain even in America,” said a presidential aide asked what actually was the message Ugandan envoy had delivered. “Nobody will accept that a democratically elected government be changed through the force or by an imposed agreement,” he further told Sudan Tribune on condition of anonymity” (…) “President Museveni is indeed a friend of the people of South Sudan. He sent the special message for two purposes. One, he assured his excellency, General Salva Kiir Mayardit of the support of the people and the government of the Republic of Uganda to the people and the Republic of South Sudan. His Excellency President Museveni gave the assurance of highest support in this situation. Two, in case of sanctions, the government of Uganda would do its best to ensure all weapons and associated services destined to South Sudan are facilitated,” he said” (Sudan Tribune, 2018).

In July 2018:

Museveni told the United Kingdom minister for armed forces Col. Mark Lancaster that an arms embargo will not help in the peace process. “Mr Museveni told his guests that imposing sanctions on South Sudan will not help in finding a solution to that country’s challenges adding that observation of ceasefire by the warring groups, security reform and working to have elections, among others, will help the country move towards peace,” Museveni told Col. Lancaster, according to a statement released by Uganda State House.

United Nations Arms Embargo:

Arms Embargo “4. Decides that, until 31 May 2019, all Member States shall immediately take the necessary measures to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to the territory of South Sudan from or through their territories or by their nationals, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, of arms and related materiel of all types, including weapons and ammunition, military vehicles and equipment, paramilitary equipment, and spare parts for the aforementioned; and technical assistance, training, financial or other assistance, related to military activities or the provision, maintenance or use of any arms and related materiel, including the provision of armed mercenary personnel whether or not originating in their territories;” (…) “8. Calls upon all Member States, in particular States neighbouring South Sudan, to inspect, in accordance with their national authorities and legislation and consistent with international law, in particular the law of the sea and relevant international civil aviation agreements, all cargo to South Sudan, in their territory, including seaports and airports, if the State concerned has information that provides reasonable grounds to believe the cargo contains items the supply, sale, or transfer of which is prohibited by paragraph 4 of this resolution for the purpose of ensuring strict implementation of these provisions” (…) “9. Decides to authorize all Member States to, and that all Member States shall, upon discovery of items the supply, sale, or transfer of which is prohibited by paragraph 4 of this resolution, seize and dispose (such as through destruction, rendering inoperable, storage or transferring to a State other than the originating or destination States for disposal) of such items, and decides further that all Member States shall cooperate in such efforts” (UNSC, 2018).

As you have seen, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has promised arms, even if there is an embargo and he will secure weapons for the conflict. That is how he is, he doesn’t care about the conflict or the innocent lives taken by it. He is the war-lord earning fortunes on the trade of arms and being a beacon in the midst of the conflict. It is a win-win, he get to sell weapons and be part of the peace-process. Which I find amazing.

That the African Union and East African Community is using Museveni is boggling me, when he has no trouble offering weapons and arms to the TGoNU and Kiir government. So, when he is such a partner to the Juba Administration, while it is negotiations and having dialogue with the rebels and other outfits. It doesn’t make sense.

He will not follow the Arms Embargo, as he has promised to help Kiir. Therefore, the UN shouldn’t just call upon, they should also sanction them for trading arms with South Sudan. That is why the Embargo has little value, as long as the Ugandan government are friendly and will do business with the TGoNU. They will serve the needs and sell to earn big-business in Juba on the arms-trade.

Museveni doesn’t fear the UN or the Member States, they are in his favor with refugees and peacekeepers elsewhere. So, if he breaks Arms Embargo and sanctions, he know he won’t get scrutinized or even pay for violations. That is why he will do it too. Peace.

Reference:

South Sudan News Agency – ‘Ugandan President asks UN to drop South Sudan arms embargo’ 14.07.2018 link: http://southsudannewsagency.org/index.php/2018/07/14/ugandan-president-asks-un-to-drop-south-sudan-arms-embargo/

Sudan Tribune – ‘Museveni tells South Sudan not to worry from U.S. sanctions’ (11.02.2018) link: http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article64703

United Nations Security Council (UNSC) – ‘Adopting Resolution 2428 (2018), Security Council Extends Sanctions on South Sudan’ 13.07.2018 link: https://reliefweb.int/report/south-sudan/adopting-resolution-2428-2018-security-council-extends-sanctions-south-sudan

South Sudan: Humanitarian Coordinator calls for urgent scale up of humanitarian assistance in Tambura (12.07.2018)

CEPO: United Nation Secretary General Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict visited South Sudan (14.07.2018)

U.S. Embassy Juba. South Sudan: Passage of a bill to unilaterally extend the transitional government’s term (13.07.2018)

South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA): Juba Regime Illegitimate Term Renewal to undercut the Peace Process (13.07.2018)

SPLM-IO: On Juba’s Extension of the Term of the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) – (12.07.2018)

South Sudan Civil Society: Ref. Response of Civil Society to Post-Entebbe Draft on Outstanding Issues of Responsibility Sharing (11.07.2018)

South Sudan: The Transitional Constitution of South Sudan, 2011 (in amendment) bill, 2018 (29.06.2018)

Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) Patten visits South Sudan, demands immediate halt to sexual violence (12.07.2018)

The Government of South Sudan bears the primary responsibility for protecting its People.

JUBA, South Sudan, July 12, 2018 – In South Sudan, since the start of the conflict, sexual violence has been committed on a widespread and systematic scale as a tactic of war and terror. As part of a joint United Nations – African Union solidarity visit, led by Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, I visited the country from 3 to 7 July 2018. The primary purpose of my visit was to better understand the needs of survivors and vulnerable communities, as well as the nature, patterns and trends of conflict-related sexual violence. The visit also provided a critical opportunity to reinvigorate commitments made by the Government since 2014 to prevent and prosecute crimes of sexual violence, as well as to ensure the delivery of essential services to survivors.

In the course of my visit, I met with senior government officials, including the Minister in the Presidency and the Ministers of Justice, Defense and Gender; the Deputy Chief of Defense Forces; and the Inspector General of Police. I also met with religious leaders from the South Sudan Council of Churches and the Islamic Council, members of the donor and diplomatic community, as well as UN agencies and UNMISS leadership. In my meetings with civil society organizations, I was alarmed to hear about the increasing climate of intimidation in which they work, including attacks against those providing services to sexual violence survivors. I visited sites for the protection of displaced civilians in Malakal and Juba, where I spoke with women and girls who had survived sexual violence, yet continue to live in situations of acute vulnerability both inside and outside the camps.

Civilians fleeing the fighting in Unity State, which peaked between 16 April and 24 May, recounted shocking patterns of conflict-related sexual violence, occurring alongside other atrocity crimes. The testimonies I heard were horrific: men being systematically killed, the elderly and sick being burned alive, the genitals of young boys being mutilated or cut off, and women and girls being gang-raped – often to death. Rape and gang-rape are being used to pursue military and political objectives, such as clearing areas of perceived enemies, defined along ethnic and political lines. In this context, sexual violence serves as a lethal tactic of war and a “push factor” for forced displacement.

According to a report released yesterday by UNMISS and OHCHR on the indiscriminate attacks against civilians in Southern Unity State, at least 120 women and girls, including pregnant and lactating mothers, and girls as young as four-years-old, were raped and gang-raped by the SPLA and associated forces (including pro-Taban Deng forces and clan youth militia) in Koch and Leer county. Witness accounts indicate that some women and girls who resisted rape were shot. The report further documents 15 incidents of abduction involving at least 132 women and girls, for the purposes of sexual slavery and forced labor.

Women in the camps told me of the lack of food, health services, and livelihood opportunities. In order to collect firewood, women and girls need to continuously venture further beyond camp perimeters, at great personal risk. Although they walk in groups to reduce their vulnerability to attack, they are still frequently assaulted by soldiers lurking in the high grass. Yet they have few alternatives, as they cannot ask male community members for help. In the words of one woman: “Our men would get killed, whereas we only get raped”. In addition to security and basic livelihood assistance, all of the women I spoke with said that they wanted to see the perpetrators punished. Yet sexual violence is fueled and exacerbated by impunity on a massive scale.

The Government of South Sudan bears the primary responsibility for protecting its people. Indeed, Government officials I met affirmed their willingness to implement the Joint Communiqué to end sexual violence signed with the United Nations in 2014. Moreover, it is important to recall that the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement, signed on 21 December 2017, lists sexual violence among the prohibited “hostile military actions”. To support the transition from prohibitions on paper to measurable progress, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) has developed an action plan to prevent sexual violence and hold perpetrators in their ranks to account. In addition, the South Sudan National Police Service (SSNPS) is recruiting more women, which will encourage survivors to report these crimes and seek redress, and is working to ensure the effective functioning of special protection units.

The United Nations stands ready to support the Government in these endeavors. To that end, I will deploy a team of experts to South Sudan before the end of the month, to provide technical assistance to the justice and security sector. I will also brief the United Nations Security Council on the findings of my mission, as well as the South Sudan Sanctions Committee, which includes sexual violence among the designation criteria for sanctions.

The main hope and desire of the women I met during my visit, was the desire for peace. In this respect, I am encouraged by the Khartoum Declaration of Agreement between the Parties to the Conflict of South Sudan, signed on 21 June, which declares a “permanent ceasefire”. This must be respected by all sides, and should entail not only the complete silencing of the guns in South Sudan, but also the cessation of all forms of sexual violence. There is now an urgent need for sustained and sincere political will, coupled with robust mechanisms to ensure compliance with the range of commitments made by the parties to date. It is also critical that the authorities undertake an effective, prompt and impartial investigation into all alleged violations of international humanitarian and human rights law committed in the context of the recent Southern Unity operations, as well as other alleged atrocity crimes.

I commend the efforts of the United Nations and the African Union to bring sustainable peace and stability to South Sudan, and note that in an extremely challenging operating environment, UNMISS has played a critical role in the protection of civilians, and the UN country team and its partners have continued to deliver lifesaving services to women and girls affected by gender-based violence. Donors and international partners must increase their support, to enable the provision of medical and psychosocial assistance to survivors, including in remote areas, as well as technical expertise and resources for security sector reform, justice and reparations.

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