July 29, 2014 (JUBA) – A South Sudanese human rights body has condemned last week’s arrest of youth in Northern Bahr el Ghazal state, describing the government’s move as “barbaric”.
In a statement issued Tuesday, South Sudan Human Rights Society for Advocacy (SSHURSA) said it received that a number of youth have been arrested, held and were being tortured by security agents since 26 July.
Those arrested allegedly maintained close links with Gen. Dau Aturjong, a senior military commander who defected from the army to join opposition forces led by the country’s former vice-president, Riek Machar.
SSHURSA said the arrest of the youth was “unlawful” and that the state should “immediately” and “unconditionally” ensure that the arrested youth members are released and hold accountable those who carried out the arrests.
“The South Sudan Human Rights Society for Advocacy (SSHURSA) condemns in strongest terms possible as ‘barbaric’ the arrest of the youth by the security and state officials in South Sudan’s Northern Bahr El Ghazal state,” partly reads its statement.
The youth members, it stressed, have their constitutional rights to associate and speak out their views on how they perceive the government they have entrusted with management of their public affairs as citizens of the country both at state and national levels.
“It is one of the values of democratic society to associate and speak out on public issues that matter in the lives of the citizens and people’s government cannot use its agents to arrest and torture those holding contrary views,” SSHURSA said.
Harmless divergent views are ingredients for the growth of democracy which South Sudanese state must be humble to accept, it further stressed.
As a member of the African Union and United Nations, South Sudan is expected abide by certain principles of the international customary law, which condones illegal arrest, unfair trail and prolonged detention.