Brussels - The European Union has increased pressure on South Sudan, overstepping United Nations sanctions by imposing travel bans and asset freezes on three individuals over worsening human rights violations in the country.
This marks the first time that the EU has decided to autonomously sanction people over the South Sudanese crisis, the block said Friday. Previously, the EU has only imposed sanctions on individuals listed by the UN.
European concern over southern Sudan
EU member states, which approved the measures, said that the decision was taken "in view of the ever deteriorating humanitarian and security situation in South Sudan, and considering the lack of commitment by some actors to the ongoing peace process."
The measures bring the total number of people sanctioned by the EU over South Sudan to nine.
The names of the three new individuals are set to be released later.
The biggest wave of displacement
The move signals the EU's growing concern over South Sudan, the world's newest country, which is in its fifth year of war following a 2013 split between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the bloody civil war, while 2.5 million people have fled the country.
On Thursday, the UN warned that South Sudan was set to become Africa's biggest refugee crisis since the Rwandan genocide in 1994, with one in three of the country's population already displaced.