By Ajong Mbapndah L
The US has upped pressure on South Sudan by slamming sanctions on First Vice President Taban Deng Gai for his role in human rights abuses.
In a statement from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the U.S Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control , President Kiir’s topmost deputy is sanctioned for gross human rights abuses.
According to the statement for Pompeo, Deng was guilty of involvement in the disappearance and reported deaths of two human rights activists in 2017.
“Deng has acted on South Sudanese President Salva Kiir’s behalf to divide and sow distrust, extend the conflict in South Sudan, and impede the reconciliation and peace process. Disappearances and extrajudicial killings of political opposition and civil society actors whose views differ with the ruling regime are actions designed to silence dissent and enforce the political status quo,” the statement read.
Such human rights violations and abuses curtail the political space needed for the full implementation of a durable peace in South Sudan, the statement said.
“This decision underscores the U.S. government’s continuing commitment to promote and protect human rights globally and reflects our determination to promote accountability of all those who seek to undermine the South Sudanese peace process,” Secretary Pompeo said in the statement.
The statement which comes midway into the recent extension to form an inclusive unity government, urges the government and opposition leaders to distance themselves from peace process spoilers and prioritize the will of the South Sudanese people for peace