Security Council Extends Sanctions on South Sudan, Adopting Resolution 2633 (2022) by 10 Votes in Favour, with 5 Abstentions
The Security Council extended for a year today the sanctions regime imposed on South Sudan, including the arms embargo, travel ban and financial measures, even as some of its members questioned the effectiveness of those measures.
Resolution 2633 (2022) (to be issued as document S/RES/2633(2022)) was adopted by a vote of 10 in favour (Albania, Brazil, France, Ghana, Ireland, Mexico, Norway, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States) to none against, with 5 abstentions (China, Gabon, India, Kenya Russian Federation).
By that text, the Council strongly condemned past and ongoing human rights violations in South Sudan and expressed deep concern at continued fighting in that country. It also decided to renew, until 31 May 2023, the measures on arms imposed by resolution 2428 (2018), which direct all Member States to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer of arms to the territory of South Sudan.
Further terms extended the travel and financial measures put in place by resolution 2206 (2015), according to which all Member States shall take measures to freeze the financial assets of designated individuals and prevent their entry into or transit through their territories.
By its other terms, the Council decided to extend until 1 July 2023 the mandate of the Panel of Experts, as set out in paragraph 19 of resolution 2428 (2018), deciding further that the Panel should provide to the Council an interim report by 1 December 2022, a final report by 1 May 2023, and updates in the other months of that period, after discussion with the Sanctions Committee.
The Council reiterated its readiness to review arms embargo measures through, inter alia, modification, suspension, or progressive lifting of those measures, in light of progress on the key benchmarks. It also requested that the Secretary-General, in close consultation with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the Panel, conduct an assessment of progress made no later than 15 April 2023.
Speaking after the adoption, South Sudan’s representative denounced the sanctions as counter-productive and ill-intended from the beginning. Regarding the Council’s belief that the measures will resolve the conflict in his country, he declared: “After all these years, we know better.” The sanctions may even compound the economic misery that the people of South Sudan are currently enduring, he cautioned, calling upon the international community to give more encouragement and material support to South Sudan. Expressing gratitude to Council members who attempted to balance the mandate, he warned that waiting until the end of the mandate every year to point out shortcomings in implementation will not bear any positive outcomes.
Several delegates questioned the effectiveness of the current sanctions, while pointing to the need to change strategy.
Kenya’s representative said the text falls short of calls by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the African Union to lift the arms embargo and sanctions. He noted that whereas some proposals by the A3 (Kenya, Gabon, Ghana) were incorporated into the text, more could have been done to ease the restrictions on capacity-building and technical assistance.
India’s representative, noting that his country is one of the largest troop contributors to the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), pointed out that the country faces a multitude of political and security challenges, typical of new nations. He went on to emphasize the steady improvements in the security sector as well as efforts towards inclusive political dialogue, and called upon the Council to respond to Juba’s concerns and those of the wider region regarding the sanctions.
The Russian Federation’s delegate emphasized that sanctions must be completely justified and nuanced. She said that, when preparing the resolution, the United States ignored calls from South Sudan and other African countries on the importance of demonstrating respect to Juba. She also cited Note 507, which stipulates that co-sponsors must provide colleagues with a role in preparing resolutions and carrying out consultations. Yet, the United States placed its own interests above those of South Sudan and others in the region, she said.
Along similar lines, China’s representative said the United States forced a vote on a text that does not enjoy consensus, adding that the Council should adopt measures to gradually ease the sanctions. He went on to note that China put forward proposals to exempt training and non-lethal equipment from the sanctions, but the country facilitating the draft stubbornly did not demonstrate the required fairness and inclusiveness.
Gabon’s representative, noting that South Sudan, the youngest State in the United Nations, was placed under sanctions four years after its birth, said that, for seven years, its people have been living under a sanctions regime whose effectiveness is below expectations. South Sudan’s armed forces need the tools to fulfil their mandate to defend the country’s territorial integrity, he added, stressing that the international community must focus its efforts on post-conflict reconstruction and peacebuilding.
Ghana’s delegate stressed the importance of capacity-building and called upon the international community to assist South Sudan’s implementation of the Revitalized Peace Agreement.
Today’s meeting began at 10:22 a.m. and ended at 10:47 a.m.