UN chief proposes targets to lift South Sudan arms embargo
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres Wednesday proposed targets to be met by South Sudan for it to get rid of a UN arms embargo.
The Associated Press reported yesterday that the targets included; the full implementation of the 2018 peace agreement, disarmament of former combatants, and establishment of a truth and reconciliation commission.
The UN chief made the proposals in an eight-page report to the UN Security Council in response to its request in December for recommendations to assess the arms embargo on South Sudan, which was adopted in 2018.
The benchmarks further 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.
Guterres said progress in implementing the peace agreement has been slow and the proposed benchmarks “could play an important role” in its implementation.
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.
Its first proposed target includes establishing the Transitional National Legislature comprising the Transitional National Legislative Assembly and the Council of State, Guterres said.
The second target should include incorporating the 2018 peace agreement into the transitional constitution and completing the permanent constitution-making process, and make progress in reforming the judiciary and key financial institutions, he said.
Guterres 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. He also 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 targets should be the completion of South Sudan’s strategic defense and security review, an immediate end to recruiting security forces, and recruiting and using children, and the unification of the command of the country’s various forces, training and redeploying those unified troops.
On human rights and humanitarian issues, he said the benchmark should focus on improving humanitarian access, achieving a long-term solution for refugees and people displaced within the country, reducing the levels of sexual and gender-based violence, especially during conflicts, and concluding 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, he said.
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.”