National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula has called for the lifting of the sanctions imposed on South Sudan by international bodies, terming the move as unjustified.
The sanctions by the United Nations Security Council include asset freezes, travel bans and arms embargoes.
Speaking during a dinner hosted by South Sudanese Speaker Rt. Hon. Jemma Nunu on the last day of the EAC Speakers’ Bureau meeting held in Juba, Hon. Wetang’ula stated that the sanctions are uncalled for.
He explained that the sanctions have hindered the growth of the youngest country in Africa, consequently affecting the region’s integration and development.
Mr Wetang’ula noted that South Sudan, being the newest State in the region, deserves support and not the unwarranted sanctions and assured them of Kenya’s support to help them shake off the sanctions.
South Sudan Foreign Affairs Minister Hon. Dr Barnaba Marial had complained to the Speakers during the meeting that the sanctions were reversing positive progress made by the State and asked for their voices to have them lifted.
Dr Marial pointed out that South Sudan’s men’s basketball team had qualified to represent Africa in the Olympics and expressed fears that the historical achievement might be shuttered by the sanctions.
“South Sudan’s qualification to represent Africa in basketball Olympic games has elicited excitement and hope among our people but we fear that the sanctions might see our team being locked out,” he added.
As he rallied other EAC member States to support campaigns to have the sanctions lifted, Hon. Wetangula said: “Kenya will do all it can to help South Sudan shake off the sanctions. They should bank on our support on this drive”.
Speaker Hon. Nunu told the meeting that South Sudan under the stewardship of President H.E Silva Kir had made tremendous progress in ensuring peace and stability noting that the country was on the right track.
“South Sudan is now a peaceful country.
The hosting of the EAC Speakers’ Bureau meeting is an indication of peace and stability,” said Nunu.
On May 30 2023, the United Nations Security Council said it had extended sanctions on South Sudan for One Year.
This is after it adopted Resolution 2683 (2023) by 10 Votes in favour with five abstentions.
The 10 countries that voted in favour of Resolution 2683 (2023) include Albania, Brazil, Ecuador, France, Japan, Malta, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The five that abstained were China, Gabon, Ghana, Mozambique and the Russian Federation.
When it imposed the sanctions, the United Security Council was guided by the ongoing violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by all parties, including armed groups and national security forces.
The Council further condemned the targeting of civil society, including journalists, human rights defenders and humanitarian personnel, emphasizing the need for the Revitalised Transitional Government of National Unity to bear the primary responsibility to protect its population from genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The arms embargo is in place until May 31, 2024, and bars all Member States from direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer of arms to the territory of South Sudan.
This further stops the supply, sale or transfer of non-lethal military equipment, solely in support of the implementation of the terms of the peace agreement and related technical assistance or training on such equipment.
In line with the sanctions, all Member States shall take measures to freeze the financial assets of designated individuals and prevent their entry into or transit through their territories.
The Speakers’ Bureau meeting resolved that in an effort to enhance linkages between EALA and National Assemblies a sensitisation programme should be undertaken from January 14th to 25th.
The meeting also resolved that Kenya will permanently host the East African Parliamentary Institute ( EAPI).
The Speakers observed that the Bureau faced financial challenges occasioned by the failure of member states to remit their dues as required as they prevailed upon defaulters to pay up.
Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania were commended for implementing a proposal to have all parliaments establish day-care facilities as the meeting called on States that have not implemented the proposal to do so.
It was resolved during the meeting that the annual Interparliamentary games to be held in Rwanda starting on December 8th to 19th.
The EAC Speakers’ Bureau was established in 2008 with a mandate to come up with a functional working relationship between the Speakers of the partner States.