photo by jon nicholson

news - South Sudanese General Travels to China Despite UN Travel Ban

august 15th, 2018

Note: This blog was originally published on

Inquiries by The Sentryhave just revealedthatGeneral Gabriel Jok Riak,South Sudan’stop military commander,likelytraveled in violation of his UN travel ban. The Sentry has now been able to confirm that General Jok Riakdid not receive an official waiver from the UN when he visitedChina last month for the first China-Africa Defense & Security Forum.

Jok Riak was sanctioned by the UN in 2015for perpetuating violence and breaching ceasefire agreements, sanctionsthat prohibit travelwithout a waiver issued by the UN.Despite being under UN sanctions, Gen. Jok Riak was promoted to the military’s top position in May.

Brian Adeba, Deputy Director of Policy at the Enough Project,said:“It’s now clear that Gabriel Jok Riak was able to travel to China last month likely in violation of his UN travel ban.South Sudan’snewpower-sharing dealwill be destined for failureif it is implemented with the same neglect as sanctions enforcement. The short-sighted, status quodraftof the recent Khartoum Peace Agreement is incomplete and does not address the structural issues that led to the conflict in the first place. The international community must strongly enforce sanctions and escalate financial pressures on South Sudan’s corrupt officials and their networks to support a sustainable peace.”

Joshua White, Director of Policy and Analysis at The Sentry,said: “The extensive diplomatic legwork needed to pass sanctions in the UN Security Council must befollowed upwithstrongenforcement. Gen. Jok Riak’s travel exposes a gap in sanctions enforcement. Not only wasJok Riakable to travel to China—which voted to sanctionhimin 2015—for a military conference but hestillmaintains a home in Kampala that Ugandan authorities should havelong agoseized. Sanctions must be more than symbolic messages,and we call on the governments of these countries to respect their UN obligations with respect to South Sudan.”

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