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HRW urges sanctions against South Sudan leaders

The New York based rights organisation, Human Rights Watch on Tuesday published a report highlighting the South Sudanese leaders' failure to halt gross human rights abuses, and called on the international community to impost sanctions. 

“Four years into this crisis, gruesome crimes continue, with millions displaced and hundreds of thousands facing a man-made famine,” the executive director of HRW, Kenneth Roth said. “It’s well past time to send a strong message to those in positions of power that atrocities will come at a price.”

In a statement released to launch the 52 page report, ‘Soldiers Assume We Are Rebels’: Escalating Violence and Abuses in South Sudan’s Equatorias," HRW said, 

"The report focuses on two areas: Kajo Keji county, in the former Central Equatoria state, and Pajok, a town in the former Eastern Equatoria state.

"Nine men – including President Salva Kiir, former Vice President Riek Machar, former army chief of staff Paul Malong, and six other commanders – should face sanctions in view of the mounting evidence of their responsibility for grave violations during the conflict."

"The United Nations Security Council, European Union, and other states should impose sanctions on the nine men, and the Security Council should also impose a long overdue, comprehensive arms embargo on South Sudan."

"Human Rights Watch and others have long urged the UN Security Council to impose a comprehensive arms embargo on South Sudan and additional targeted, individual sanctions. The Security Council has not imposed an arms embargo but has placed travel bans and asset freezes on three government and three opposition commanders. The United States and EU also have sanctions in place against the six individuals. The EU has had an arms embargo in place for years but the African Union (AU) has not imposed additional individual sanctions or an arms embargo."

In March this year, the UN Human Rights Council mandated the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan to collect and preserve evidence in view of future prosecutions of those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity through credible trials.