UNSC Current Affairs
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has adopted Resolution 2428 (2018) to impose an arms embargo on South Sudan, almost five years after ruinous civil war was started in infant country. The resolution was drafted by United States and won minimum nine votes needed in favor to none against with 6 abstentions.
Yes votes: United Kingdom, United States, Sweden, Poland, Ivory Coast, France, Kuwait, Netherlands and Peru. Abstentions from voting: Bolivia, China, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Russia
Resolution 2428 (2018)
It calls upon all UN member states to prevent supply, sale or transfer to South Sudan — from or through their territories till 31 May 2019. The embargo is related to arms and related material and withholds training, technical and financial assistance related to military activities or materials. In addition, it lays out several exemptions to the country’s arms embargo including for material and activities related to humanitarian activities and lists details related to the inspection of shipments and cargo bound for South Sudan.
The civil war in South Sudan started in 2013, two years after it gained independence from Sudan, when President Salva Kiir accused his then-deputy Riek Machar of plotting coup against him. Over the years, long-standing intense rivalry between Kiir and Machar intensified fighting with more than dozen warring factions. The civil war has killed tens of thousands of people and forced millions to flee their homes, triggering humanitarian crisis. The United Nations has peacekeepers in the country as part of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). In June 2018, President Kiir and his rival Riek Machar had agreed to permanent ceasefire, raising hopes of peace deal to end their country’s devastating civil war. But several ceasefires had previously been violated by the warring parties.
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has adopted Resolution 2427 aimed at providing legal framework for mainstreaming protection, rights, well-being and empowerment of children throughout the conflict cycle. The resolution has won unanimous approval of the 15 members of the council.
The resolution strongly condemns recruitment and use of children in armed conflicts as well as their re-recruitment, killing and rape, maiming and other forms of sexual violence and abductions. It also condemns attacks against schools and hospitals and denial of humanitarian access by parties to armed conflict and all other violations of international law committed against children in situations of armed conflict.
It demands that all relevant parties immediately put end to such practices and take special measures to protect children. It also emphasizes responsibility of all states to put end to impunity and investigate and prosecute those responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and other egregious crimes perpetrated against children.
It reiterates UNSC’s readiness to adopt targeted and graduated measures against persistent perpetrators of violations and abuses committed against children. It calls on member states and UN to mainstream child protection into all relevant activities in prevention of conflict, during conflict and post-conflict situations with aim of sustaining peace and preventing conflict.
It recalls importance of ensuring that children continue to have access to basic services during the conflict and post-conflict periods, including education and health care and urges UN member states and bodies and civil society to take specifically into account girls’ equal access to education.
It also stresses importance of long-term and sustainable funding for mental health and psychosocial programming in humanitarian contexts and ensuring all affected children receive timely and sufficient support and encourage donors to integrate mental health and psychosocial services in all humanitarian responses.
According to annual report of UN Secretary-General on children and armed conflict, over 21,000 cases of grave violations of children’s rights in armed conflict were verified in 2017. It is drastic increase from previous year (2016) with 15,500 violations. Among the violations in 2017, over 15,000 violations were perpetrated by non-state armed groups and about 6,000 were committed by government forces.
UN Security Council (UNSC)
UNSC is most powerful and one of the six principal organs UN. Under, UN Charter it has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. It has 15 members, including five permanent ones with power of veto. The five permanent members are China, France, Russia, UK and US. 10 non-permanent members are elected for two-year terms each. Its powers include establishment of peacekeeping operations, establishment of international sanctions, and authorization of military action through UNSC resolutions. It is only UN body with authority to issue binding resolutions to member states.
Functions of UNSC
It is responsible for determining existence of threat against peace and to respond to act of aggression. It is also responsible for finding peaceful means to settle conflict or dispute between states. In some cases, it resorts to sanctions or even authorise use of force to maintain or restore international peace and security. It also recommends to UNGA appointment of UN Secretary General and admission of new members to the UN.