Will Sanctions Force South Sudanese Elites to Stop Fighting?

By April Kent

The U.N. Security Council is considering imposing sanctions on two South Sudanese for ceasefire violations that froze implementation of a peace agreement signed last month. Clashes between government and opposition forces are ongoing, with each accusing the other of breaking the peace. The situation has given rise to concerns over whether sanctions will be effective in ending the conflict. The South Sudanese government has focused on the need to prioritize diplomacy over penalties. Foreign affairs minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin remarked “Our friends have unfortunately turned their backs against us and are now the one spearheading negative campaigns for sanctions. We have pleaded with them to help us address these differences through peaceful dialogue but they seem to have made up their minds.” International human rights organizations, however, have advocated taking actions that target the elites perpetuating the war. Sanctions could be an important first step toward ultimately replacing a corrupt political system.