UN arms embargo on Sudan (Darfur region)

In July 2004 the UN imposed an arms embargo on the Darfur region of Sudan. The embargo has been extended from non-governmental groups to all parties to the N'djamena Ceasefire Agreement, which includes the Sudanese Government. In 2010 the embargo was strengthened to ensure states provide the necessary end-user documentation to prevent breaches of the prior resolutions when exporting arms to the Sudanese Government.

In July 2004 Security Council resolution 1556, not unanimously adopted, imposed an open-ended arms embargo on all non-governmental entities and individuals, including the Janjaweed, operating in the states of North Darfur, South Darfur and West Darfur. This was in reaction to the ongoing human rights abuses and deteriorating humanitarian situation in the region. 

In March 2005 Security Council Resolution 1591,not unanimously adopted, expanded the arms embargo to include all parties to the N'djamena Ceasefire Agreement (including Sudanese government forces active in the region, the SLA/M and the JEM) and any other belligerents in North Darfur, South Darfur and West Darfur, Sudan. The resolution established a Security Council Sanctions Committee to monitor the enforcement of the embargo and to consider requests from the Sudanese Government for the movement of military assets into the Darfur region. In a response to questions from member states the Sanctions Committee has clarified that the embargo allows the provision of arms and military equipment to the Government of Sudan outside the Darfur region (see S/2006/1045) The resolution also imposed additional measures including a travel ban and assets freeze on individuals designated by the Sanctions Committee.

UN panels of experts repeatedly observed military equipment in Darfur for which there was good reason to assume that it was delivered to Sudan after March 2005. 

In October 2010 Security Council resolution 1945, not unanimously adopted, strengthened the arms embargo by deciding that all States shall ensure that any sale or supply of arms and related materiel to Sudan not prohibited by resolutions 1556 and 1591, are made conditional upon the necessary end user documentation so that States may ascertain that any such sale or supply is conducted consistent with the measures imposed by those resolutions.

Last updated on 25 October 2012

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