An Open Letter To The United Nations General Assembly
To: The United Nations General Assembly
New York, USA,
By Tito Anthony,
Centre for Peace & Justice,
Juba, South Sudan,
Aug 24th, 2017(Nyamilepedia) —– The Centre for Peace & Justice are deeply concerned with issues of human rights in South Sudan, would like to take the opportunity of your last delegation visit to South Sudan to raise a series of issues regarding the current human rights situation in the country. Armed conflict continues to devastate many parts of the country and the government has placed severe restrictions on fundamental rights and freedoms. We respectfully request that you consider this information in compiling your report and in formulating recommendations to the South Sudanese government, with a view to ensuring the promotion and protection of human rights in the countrywide
Human rights violations in the context of armed conflict
In countrywide over 2 million have been forced to flee their homes since the conflict started between government forces and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition [SPLM/A – IO];
- Serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law have taken place with government forces targeting civilian areas and infrastructure through both indiscriminate and ground offensives. This has resulted in the killing and maiming of thousands of civilians.
- There is evidence that the government of South Sudan has deliberately force recruit child soldiers
- Target both humanitarian and educational facilities for use, as well as religious structures
Freedom of Expression, Association and Assembly
Freedom of expression and the media remain restricted in South Sudan. Journalists are routinely detained while newspapers are routinely confiscated and other suspended. Radio Tamazuj, Nation Mirror, Citizen, Sudan Tribune and Nyamilepedia are example. In addition to freedom of expression, the right to freedom of assembly is also routinely violated by government of South Sudan were they are informing citizen that if you demonstrate we only have bullet that can shoot to kill. Two students were detained during a student election last year 2016 from University of Juba.
Authorities, including National Security, have also imposed restrictions on the operation of civil society organizations by monitoring what they do through RRC office by telling them if NGOs are coming for renewal of registration and they are told to consider not to renewal NGOs who happen be in National Security black list unless the get clearance from National Security Office.
We also wish to express our deep concern over the collapsed of the August peace agreement signed by both President Salva Kiir and Former First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar.
We would like to draw your attention back to that signed peace agreement as only way to achieve peace in South Sudan, and we need all the parties to the agreement to recommit themselves to it and find a way to incorporate the newly form armed opposition to be part of ARCISS, and if the parties are reluctant to recommit themselves than the alternative will be comprehensive armed embargo and individual sanctions targeting individual who are lobby for continuation of war.
Conclusion and recommendations
Urgent action is needed to address the continually deteriorating human rights situation in South Sudan and we believe that your mandate can play a critical role in ensuring South Sudan’s compliance with its international human rights obligations. We respectfully ask that you investigate, and publicly report on and highlight those that you are able to verify. In particular, engaging with violations committed in Greater Upper Nile, Greater Equatoria and Western Bhar El-gazhal State will be critical. Although comprehensive reporting has been done by a number of NGOs and international Human Rights Organization, many states remain sceptical and confirmation by your office would be critical in pressuring states to respond. In addition, we would ask that you engage with the government of South Sudan and urge them to protect the rights of the South Sudanese population. A number of colleague International organizations have pulled together comprehensive recommendations in preparation for Sudan’s UPR some of the most critical of these, which we would respectfully urge you to take up with the government of South Sudan are:
- Ensure all allegations of serious human rights violations are independently and thoroughly investigated and that perpetrators are brought to justice.
- Ensure that forces under state [SSDF, Mathaing Anyoor, among others] control immediately end all deliberate and indiscriminate attacks against civilians in Equatoria Region, Upper Nile Region and Western Bhar El-gazhal State as well as other violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.
- Grant full access for humanitarian aid and comply with existing agreements regarding the operation of aid agencies in South Sudan.
- Fully cooperate with UNMISS in Juba and other towns where they have base and ensure it carries out its mandate without restriction.
- Ensure that all detainees are brought promptly, within 48 hours, before a judicary to review the legality and conditions of their detention, have the right to challenge the legality of their detention before a court, and are guaranteed the right to free and fair trial.
- End arbitrary detention, torture and other abuse of human rights defenders, political and students’ activists and other individuals who criticize the authorities.
- Ensure that detainees are protected from torture or other ill-treatment and have prompt and regular access to their lawyers, families and any medical assistance they may require.
- Repeal provisions of the 2016 NGO Act, The Provisional Constitution of South Sudan 2011 amended 2016 special Article 101 will give unlimited power to president and 2014 National Security Act that arbitrarily restrict peaceful expression, association and assembly or amend them in line with international law.
Centre for Peace & Justice