The human rights activist community has reason to celebrate this week. Three important pieces of legislation passed the House. Additionally, the U.S. is currently circulating a draft resolution in the U.N. Security Council to impose an arms embargo and targeted sanctions on South Sudan. While these policies should be applauded, there are strong underlying reasons for these recents actions.
The political climate in the Democratic Republic of Congo is extremely tense; and the situation in South Sudan is bordering on genocide, as the U.N. special advisor on the prevention of genocide, Adama Dieng, noted this week. This week also brought renewed bombings in the Syrian city of Aleppo.
Here's more on the legislation that passed this week in the House:
H.Res.780 - Urging respect for the constitution of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the democratic transition of power in 2016: A Resolution calling for sanctions against the Congolese government officials close to President Kabila if the President does not step down from power, and if the government continues to violate human rights.
H.R. 5732 - The Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2016: A bill that seeks to help "halt the wholesale slaughter of the Syrian people, encourage a negotiated political settlement, and hold Syrian human rights abusers accountable for their crimes."
H.R. 5332 - The Women, Peace and Security Act will – for the first time – establish women’s participation as a permanent element of U.S. foreign policy.
We owe our representatives a big thanks. Jewish World Watch has an online form to do just that. CLICK here to send a thank you message.
Meanwhile, the U.S. is circulating a draft petition in the U.N. Security Council to impose an arms embargo and impose targeted sanctions on individuals in South Sudan. The UNSC set up a targeted sanctions regime for South Sudan in March 2015 and has blacklisted six generals - three from each side of the conflict - by subjecting them to an asset freeze and travel ban. It has become evident from Adama Dieng's recent visit to South Sudan that hate speech is on the rise and violence is widespread.
"There is a strong risk of violence escalating along ethnic lines with a potential for genocide. I do not say that lightly," Dieng said in his report, urging the council to impose an arms embargo.
There is also a bill in the House regarding an arms embargo and sanctions against South Sudan; H.R. 5996 - The Halt Arms and Promote Peace in South Sudan Act. Since the beginning of the conflict, an arms embargo and sanctions have been threatened, but not implemented. This bill calls on the President to seek a U.N. arms embargo against South Sudan, and to implement targeted sanctions against individuals who are spoilers of peace.
Congresswoman Barbara Lee has said “The ongoing violence in South Sudan is a humanitarian crisis that simply cannot be ignored. Along with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, I strongly support the immediate implementation of an arms embargo and a robust sanctions regime to swiftly bring this crisis to an end. The U.S. remains willing and committed to supporting democracy and development within South Sudan. However, these investments can only be realized in a peaceful South Sudan.”
Ask your representative to co-sponsor H.R. 5996 NOW!