Home | News    Friday 1 August 2014

Rights bodies accuse S. Sudan security of harassing journalists

separation
increase
decrease
separation
separation

August 1, 2014 (JUBA) – Two leading human rights entities have accused South Sudan’s National Security Service (NSS) of unlawfully detaining journalists, as well as seizing and shutting down newspapers in the country.

JPEG - 15.4 kb
A vendor sells newspapers in South Sudanese capital Juba (Photo: Al-Jazeera)

In a joint statement, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the NSS’s actions undermine freedom of expression and curtail public debate about how to resolve the country’s ongoing conflict.

“The government clampdown takes place at a time when South Sudan most needs independent voices to contribute to discussions about how to end the political crisis and internal armed conflict,” said Elizabeth Ashamu Deng, South Sudan researcher at Amnesty International.

“Abuses by the National Security Service, an institution that still has no law governing it, have especially contributed to a growing atmosphere of fear among journalists and human rights defenders,” she added.

The two rights bodies, in their statement, called for an end to these abuses and for South Sudan’s parliament to ensure proper oversight of the NSS, in line with international human rights law and standards.

Since December last year, the group reportedly documented unlawful restrictions on expression and the media in South Sudan.

Over the past seven months, it said, senior government officials have banned journalists from interviewing opposition leaders. Those who have done so or who have reported on human rights violations by government forces have faced intimidation.

“Authorities have also restricted reporting on the conflict, human rights violations, and debates surrounding federalism in South Sudan,” partly reads the joint statement.

Several cases of confiscation of newspapers, unlawful detention of journalists and harassments have also been cited, with the blame directed at the NSS.

“Right now, journalists and commentators cannot do their work and report freely on the ongoing conflict without fear of retribution by state security forces,” said Daniel Bekele, HRW’s Africa director.

“We’ve seen the NSS and other authorities erode freedom of expression since South Sudan’s independence through abusive practices: these should end now,” he added.

Meanwhile, the two human rights entities urged the African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan to ensure that violations of freedom of expression are addressed in its research and should make recommendations on how this basic right could be better protected in South Sudan, including through institutional reform of the
NSS.

ACTIVISTS REACT

A South Sudanese civil society organization on Friday welcomed the report issued by the two human right bodies and described actions of security organs on journalists as a "wrong concept".

"This report proof facts that has happened and must be corrected by the political leadership of the government. allowing media to operate per the existing laws is opening up room for democracy to take its cost", Community Empowerment for Progress Organisation (CEPO) said in a statement.

"Freedom of expression and access to information are among the core indicators for measuring space for allowing democracy to take its cost. Therefore we urge parliament’s committee on information and communication to discuss this report and come out with genuine and consultative practical solutions for addressing the issue of the media", it adds.

In July 2013, South Sudan’s national assembly successfully passed the entire media bills that only awaited the president’s ascend. Last month, however, president Salva Kiir referred the same bill back to lawmakers raising fears of possible delays its eventual passing.

(ST)

Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

Comment on this article



The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.


Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis


Darfur, the most ‘successful’ genocide in a century 2017-04-21 23:16:47 By Eric Reeves The Darfur region of western Sudan has been recognized since 2004 as the site of genocide since 2004 by dozens of political officials and bodies (including the U.S. Congress and (...)

Open Letter to AU and IGAD: Festus Mogae be relieved and JMEC disbanded 2017-04-21 23:12:39 By Dak Buoth It is an opportune time for President Festus Mogae, the Chair of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation commission (JMEC) to pack and go back where he came from. And if he so wishes to (...)

The Nile Basin In Transformation: research uptake and what’s at stake? 2017-04-20 14:55:55 Mohamed s. M. Yassin (Ph.D) The Nile basin territories have witnessed huge transformation since prehistoric era and continue to be subjected to enormous transformations. The transformations (...)


MORE






Latest Press Releases


HRW denounces "collective punishment" in South Sudan’s Wau 2017-04-15 07:06:48 Human Right Watch South Sudan: New Spate of Ethnic Killings Urgent Need for Justice; UN Should Increase Patrols in Wau (Nairobi, April 14, 2017) – Government soldiers and allied militias (...)

Statement by South Sudanese Communist Party on the National Dialoguel 2017-03-22 05:44:42 The Communist Party of South Sudan On the Initiative of the National Dialogue The initiative taken by the President of the Republic of South Sudan declaring a need for a national dialogue is an (...)

An Appeal to President of the Republic of South Sudan 2017-03-15 07:22:45 Dear. Mr. President, I write to appeal to you for the release of political detainees now in the custody of the National Security Service at Jebel and other detention facilities. In doing this, I (...)


MORE

Copyright © 2003-2017 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.