UN chief proposes targets to lift arms embargo on South Sudan

UNITED NATIONS (PA) – Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday called for the implementation of the 2018 South Sudan peace agreement, the disarmament of ex-combatants and the establishment of a truth and reconciliation commission as key goals in the proposed benchmarks for the new world nation to get rid of a United Nations arms embargo.

The UN chief made the proposals in an eight-page report to the UN Security Council in response to his December request for recommendations to assess the arms embargo on South Sudan, which was adopted in 2018.

The benchmarks call for progress in three broad areas – political and governance issues; disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants 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.

There were high hopes that South Sudan would have peace and stability after gaining its long fought independence from Sudan in 2011. But the country slipped into ethnic violence in December 2013 when forces loyal to President Salva Kiir, a Dinka, began to fight against the faithful to Riek Machar, his former vice-president who belongs to the Nuer people.

Many attempts at peace failed, including a deal that saw Machar return as vice president in 2016 only to flee months later amid more fighting. The civil war killed nearly 400,000 people and displaced millions of people.

Intense international pressure followed the last peace agreement in September 2018 and in February 2020 a coalition government led by Kiir, with Machar as deputy, was formed.

On political issues, Mr. Guterres said this benchmark would require the government to make progress in forming the transitional government, completing reforms and ensuring broad participation of women as requested in the peace agreement.

Its first proposed goal includes the creation of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly comprising the Transitional National Legislative Assembly and the Council of State, Guterres said.

The second goal should include the incorporation of the 2018 peace agreement into the transitional constitution and the completion of the ongoing constitution-making process, and the making of progress in reforming the judiciary and key institutions. financial, he said.

Guterres said the third goal should be fulfilling the commitments of the peace agreement to secure the 35% quota for women’s representation in national, state and local governments. He also called for a woman to be appointed vice-president of the Legislative Assembly and the Council of State.

Regarding security issues, the secretary general said that the first goal should be the completion of the strategic review of defense and security of South Sudan.

The second target on transitional security arrangements should include an immediate end to the recruitment of security forces and the recruitment and use of children, he said. Guterres said this should also include the start of unification of the command of the various forces in the country and the training and redeployment of these unified troops.

Regarding human rights and humanitarian issues, he said the reference should focus on improving humanitarian access, achieving a long-term solution for refugees and internally displaced people. interior of the country and the fight against human rights violations.

Guterres said the goals should include reducing levels of sexual and gender-based violence, especially during conflict, and concluding a memorandum with the African Union to establish the South Sudan Hybrid Court to investigate and prosecute the persons responsible for violating international law.

Goals should also include the creation of a Truth, Reconciliation and Healing and Compensation Commission to examine human rights violations and a compensation and redress authority to support citizens whose property has been damaged. been destroyed during the conflict, he said. Both organs are required in the 2018 peace agreement.

Mr. Guterres told the Security Council that “once the criteria are established, the progress of their implementation should be regularly reviewed, with a view to adjusting or lifting the arms embargo once the stated objectives are met. for this sanction measure will be fully achieved. “

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