Target: Chang Wanquan, Minister of National Defense
Goal: Urge Chinese authorities to stop supplying weapons to South Sudan
Since December, the war-torn and utterly devastated South Sudan has experienced extraordinary acts of cruelty, violence and crimes against humanity. Multiple countries have expressed their opposition to the war, including China, who publicly supported peace talks underway in Addis Ababa. But China’s recent $38 million dollar shipment of military grade weaponry to the country says otherwise.
The conflict began at the capital of Juba; triggered by power struggles between President Salva Kiir, who is Dinka, and former Vice President Riek Machar, who is Nuer. The war quickly escalated and took on an ethnic dimension, with government forces from both sides carrying out widespread killings, a massacre, and detaining hundreds of men unlawfully. Inevitably, the atrocities triggered riots and initiated violent reverberations throughout South Sudan through which civilians have unfortunately been targeted.
At the core of this injustice is China, whose millions of dollars worth of missiles, grenade launchers, machine guns and ammunition may very well be enabling these crimes, whether they intend to or not. To date, military and rebel forces have destroyed towns, raided hospitals, churches, and schools, and are responsible for more than 1.5 million refugees, with large numbers of people still hiding in the bush. Under these grim circumstances, it is safe to say that any more weapons being imported into the country would contribute directly to an increase in civilian deaths, unlawful killings and prolonged ignorance of international humanitarian law.
Despite the United Nations’ plans to impose an arms embargo on South Sudan, which would make it illegal to send any more weapons into the country, China’s deplorable actions prove that they will do anything to cash in, even at the expense of exploited civilian lives. Sign the petition to urge Chinese authorities to stop supplying weapons to South Sudan and to instead work closer with the United Nations to restore peace.
Dear Chang Wanquan,
China’s permanent membership with the United Nations Security Council means that the country supports world peace and actively works towards ending war crimes in devastated countries. But the recent shipment of over $38 million dollars worth of missiles, grenade launchers, machine guns and ammunition to the South Sudan government is shocking and deplorable.
Thousands of civilians have been killed, an estimated 1.5 million people are now refugees – with 100,000 of them sleeping in appalling conditions at overcrowded United Nations compounds – and large numbers of people are still hiding in the bush amid an emerging famine. More weapons, especially military grade weapons, would provide more harm than good and prolong war crimes and suffering.
Your claims to want to see an end to human rights abuses are meaningless if you continue funneling artillery into the country. I urge you to support an immediate arms embargo on South Sudan, and to stop supplying these deadly weapons to the already war-ravaged country.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Chico75 via Wikimedia