The U.N. arms embargo on South Sudan will only be lifted if the unity government has fully implemented the revitalized peace agreement, the Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said.
The U.N. arms embargo was adopted by the United Nations Security Council in 2018, a sanctions measure which has since been renewed several times, most recently until 31 May 2021.
The U.N chief says a comprehensive implementation of the revitalized peace agreement is the only key to lift arms embargo on South Sudan.
Antonio Guterres made the proposals in an eight-page report to the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday.
This is in response to the Security Council request in December for recommendations to assess the arms embargo on South Sudan.
Guterres said the implementation of the peace agreement has been slow and the proposed benchmarks “could play an important role” in its implementation.
The U.N chief’s proposals call for progress in three broad areas – political and governance issues; disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former fighters and security sector reform; and the humanitarian and human rights situation.
On political issues, Guterres said that benchmark would require the government to make progress on forming the transitional government, completing reforms and ensuring broad participation of women as called for in the peace deal.
The first proposed target includes establishing the Transitional National Legislature comprising the Transitional National Legislative Assembly and the Council of State,
“The second target should include incorporating the 2018 peace agreement into the transitional constitution and completing the permanent constitution-making process, and making progress in reforming the judiciary and key financial institutions,” he said.
The third target should be achieving the commitments in the peace deal to ensure the quota of 35 % women’s representation in national, state and local government.
The U.N. chief called for a woman to be appointed as a deputy speaker in the Legislative Assembly and Council of State.
As for security issues, the secretary-general said the first target should be completion of South Sudan’s strategic defense and security review.
As for security issues, the secretary-general wants the completion of South Sudan’s strategic defense and security review.
He also called for an immediate end to recruiting security forces and to recruiting and using children.
Guterres said unification of the command of the various forces and training and redeploying those unified troops should also begin.
On human rights and humanitarian issues, he called on improving humanitarian access, achieving a long-term solution for refugees and people displaced within the country, and addressing human rights violations.
Guterres added that the levels of sexual and gender-based violence reduced in conflict areas.
He also called for the conclusion of a memorandum with the African Union to establish the Hybrid Court of South Sudan to investigate and prosecute individuals responsible for violating international law.
“The targets should also include establishing a functioning Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing and a Compensation to look into human rights violations and a Compensation and Reparation Authority to support citizens whose property was destroyed during the conflict,” the U.N. chief said.
Both bodies are called for in the 2018 peace agreement.
Guterres told the Security Council that “once the benchmarks have been established, progress on their implementation should be regularly reviewed, with a view to adjusting or lifting the arms embargo once the stated objectives for this sanctions measure are fully met,”
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