UN Security Council extends sanctions against South Sudan for one year News
© WikiMedia (Steve Evans)
UN Security Council extends sanctions against South Sudan for one year

The UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2731 (2024) on Thursday, extending for one year the sanctions regime imposed on South Sudan that includes asset freezes, travel bans and an arms embargo. The Resolution received nine votes in favor, none against and six abstentions from Algeria, China, Guyana, Mozambique, Russian Federation and Sierra Leone.

The council urged member states to identify and prevent arms shipments in violation of the resolution, stating that such shipments could fuel conflict and contribute to further instability. The resolution is an extension of the arms measures arms imposed by paragraph 4 of Resolution 2428 (2018), which directs all member states to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer of arms to South Sudan.

US Deputy Ambassador Robert Wood supported the adoption, stating that the extension of the UN arms embargo “remains necessary to stem the unfettered flow of weapons into a region awash with guns.” He added, “[T]oo many people – especially women and children – have borne the brunt of this ongoing violence.”

Several members, however, stressed the negative impact of sanctions and argued the council should support the South Sudanese government by lifting the embargo. The representative from China, for example, said the arms embargo impeded the government’s efforts to protect its civilians, strengthen border control and maintain social stability. He emphasized that South Sudan has made progress in implementing sanctions-related benchmarks and said the Council should support the government rather than continue imposing sanctions.

The representative of South Sudan also called for the arms embargo to be lifted, stating such a measure would “empower us to further implement the agreement, enhance security and build sustainable peace.”

South Sudan held an independence referendum in 2011 as a consequence of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement to determine whether it should separate from Sudan. In July 2011, South Sudan became the 54th independent country in Africa and joined the African Union. In 2013, however, a multi-sided civil war broke out in the country between forces of the government and the opposition force. The conflict ended with the 2018 peace agreement, in which a government of national unity was formed. According to an estimation, about 400,000 people were killed in the war and more than four million people were displaced.

The UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan found in March that mass violence and gross human rights violations need to be urgently addressed. Chairperson of the Commission Yasmin Sooka stated, “Our investigations again found an absolutely unacceptable situation in South Sudan, whereby families and communities are devastated by human rights violations and abuses by armed forces, militias and State institutions acting with impunity.”