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Rights groups call for South Sudan arms embargo

[JURIST] A group of East African and South Sudanese rights group submitted a petition [text, PDF] Wednesday to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) [official website] calling for an immediate comprehensive arms embargo on South Sudan. IGAD, which is made up of eight East African nations including Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda, has been mediating peace talks to end nine months of civil conflict in South Sudan. The petition calls for an arms embargo [AI backgrounder] that:

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.
According to petition, the conflict has resulted in the deaths of "tens of thousands of people, many of them civilians" and resulted in the internal displacement of 1.5 million people. Also, according to the petition, Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] and other rights groups have documented war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by forces on both sides of the conflict.

South Sudan [BBC backgrounder], the world's youngest nation, has been embroiled in a civil war since December 2013 after President Salva Kiir [BBC profile] accused his ex-vice-president, Riek Machar, of plotting to overthrow him. Last month in a briefing before the UN Security Council, Assistant Secretary-General for UN Peacekeeping Operations Edmond Mulet [UN News Centre report] discussed the ongoing humanitarian crisis in South Sudan, describing it as a "man-made crisis" [JURIST report], putting South Sudan on the "brink of a humanitarian catastrophe and a protracted internal conflict." In May the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) [official website] released a report indicating that both sides in the South Sudan conflict are committing gross human rights violations [JURIST report].

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