A coalition of 16 International human rights agencies have petitioned the United Nations Security Council to amplify the arms embargo on South Sudan and sanctions against individuals believed to be fomenting war in the country.
The group says South Sudanese leaders should be held to account for the war characterized by gross violations international law and human rights.
On Tuesday, Juba appealed to the UN to lift sanctions imposed from 2015 and 2017 respectively, pleading it was implementing the revitalized peace deal to stabilise the country.
The peace deal was signed between President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Dr Riek Machar last year in Ethiopia capital-Addis Ababa.
However, its timelines were missed when the formation of a transitional unity government was pushed to November from May 12.
The consortium of NGO’s sees the extension, the recent contract reached between Juba and the US-based Gainful Solutions to block sanctions over war crimes by the International Criminal Court and the establishment of a local war crimes court as signs of political inertia towards peace and stability in the country.
“The government’s recent contract with Gainful Solutions to and delay and block the Hybrid Court for South Sudan, among others, undermine the need for continued pressure with sanctions,” the statement on Thursday said.
It asked UNSC to robustly effect and monitor the sanctions until peace and permanent stability was realized.
Recently, the UN Panel of Experts released a report saying peace, security and stability of South Sudan continue to be threatened by impunity from top officials.
It implicated both the government and opposition forces of serious violations of International humanitarian law, crimes against humanity and war crimes, including the targeted killing of civilians, rape and other forms of sexual violence as well as conscription of children.
The killings of Agrey Idri, an opposition politician and a renowned human rights defender Dong Samuel on alleged instructions of National Security Service director general Gen Akol Koor Kuc, the group said, demonstrated this impunity.
The world’s security body placed South Sudan under sanctions in 2015 following report of gross human rights violations, as conflicts raged the war-torn state.
The sanctions ranged from arms embargo against Juba as well as several senior government officials including military commanders from both Kiir and Machar factions believed to be obstructing the peace process in South Sudan.
South Sudan deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Deng Dau Deng said on Wednesday it was time for the ‘punitive measures’ to be withdrawn.
“We need them (UNSC) to remove South Sudan from the list of sanctioned countries because now the war is over,” Mr Deng was quoted as saying by state radio on Wednesday morning.
Mr Deng channelled the request to UNSC through China ambassador to South Sudan Mr Hua Ning.
By The Eastafrican