A strong arms trade treaty can restrict flow of weapons in South Sudan: Djimon Hounsou

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Djimon Hounsou

A strong arms trade treaty can help restrict the flow of weapons that are used to cause suffering to civilians in South Sudan, especially women and girls, says Djimon Hounsou, actor and activist.

The Academy Award nominee, who has just returned from a week-long visit to South Sudan, spoke to reporters on Monday during the Final Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty.

He said the world's newest country is facing many challenges, including inter-communal violence during cattle raids.

According to Mr. Hounsou, young people now use guns, instead of spears during these raids in a country without enough police and limited health care facilities.

He said he heard stories of young girls who were raped and then forced to marry the rapists. But he was surprised by the blatant denials of women's suffering during discussions with government officials.

"If you could see the conditions that women are forced to endure, it is unfathomable. There are not easy answers, obviously and, ultimately, the government of South Sudan has to take responsibility to protect its people but there is something the international community can do right now. A strong arms trade treat, and I mean a strong arms trade treaty will help to restrict the flow of weapons and bullets and make it harder for cattle raiders to attack communities like the ones we visited in South Sudan." (32")

Mr. Hounsou said the government of South Sudan has been conducting campaigns to disarm civilians, but this will not be effective if weapons are still easily accessible.

Derrick Mbatha, United Nations.

Duration; 1'48"

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