South Sudan: It is dangerous to lift the arms embargo without having One united force
Recently there has been agitation for the UN to lift the arms embargo on South Sudan, In an interview with the information minister, the government broached that it is difficult to graduate forces at the training centers due to a lack of firearms. It is important to note that it is very dangerous to lift the arms embargo without one united force.
As enshrined in chapter two of the revitalized peace agreement, the security reforms require the cantonment, screening, and training of 83,000 Necessary Unified Forces to safeguard the peace deal. It is dangerous to lift the arms embargo without the security reforms
Why is the sanction imposed in the first place? In 2004, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) imposed sanctions in relation to Sudan in response to the ongoing humanitarian crisis and widespread human rights violations in Sudan. The sanctions regime has been amended and renewed by several subsequent UNSC resolutions.
Following the independence of the Republic of South Sudan in 2011, the UNSC’s Sudan Sanctions Committee confirmed that the sanctions regime in relation to Sudan does not apply to South Sudan.
However, in 2015 the UNSC decided to impose sanctions in relation to South Sudan in view of the deterioration of the security and humanitarian situation, including ongoing human rights violations and abuses. In July 2018, the UNSC imposed an arms embargo on South Sudan in response to ongoing hostilities and peace agreement violations.
The U.N. arms embargo on South Sudan will only be lifted if the unity government has fully implemented the revitalized peace agreement. The U.N says that comprehensive implementation of the revitalized peace agreement is the only key to lift the arms embargo on South Sudan.
Has the Condition been fulfilled? UN Security Council recently carried out a strategic security assessment of the country where they pointed out some specific areas that require shift actions from the government.
They include the graduation of the Necessary Unified Forces, unification of their command, and redeployment. According to the Security Council, the lack of a security strategy, resources and funding has impeded progress in the implementation of the transitional security arrangements, including the proper functioning of the cantonment and training sites.
In the assessment last month, the council said the formation, training, and redeployment of the necessary unified forces, in accordance with chapter 2 of the Revitalized Agreement, has yet to move forward.
Also, most civilian disarmament campaigns have been unsuccessful and resulted in violence, because the government has most of the time being reactive, not proactive. A case study is the Warrap state disarmament campaign in 2020 that was marred with violence.
Political tensions between the two rival camps remain high, despite the formation of the national unity government. Most concerning, despite the state and local government appointments, there is still a very high-security challenge within the country. The recent changes in the security architecture of the country speak volumes about the ongoing tension within the government.
There has been ongoing recruitment by the forces of the different parties to the agreement and this act is contrary to the provisions of the Revitalized Agreement. Most of these forces just await the arms embargo to be lifted in order to arm their forces.
Also, in recent times there have been defections and changes of allegiance among the parties, and obviously, this has undermined the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement and the permanent ceasefire.
Therefore, the government need to come out with a clear roadmap on how to implement the security reform. It very dangerous and catastrophic to lift the arms embargo without a single and united force.
The UNSC is expected to make a decision on whether to renew the arms embargo on South Sudan at the end of May.