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EU slams S. Sudan over media freedom restrictions

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December 10, 2015 (JUBA) - Diplomats from Canada and nine other European countries have strongly condemned the government of South Sudan for restricting press freedoms and creating limited political space as a ploy to promote monolithic and a single-view nation, despite constitutional provisions depicting the country as a democratic state.

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European flags are seen outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels (Reuters Photo)

The Heads of Mission are gravely concerned by the shrinking space in South Sudan for freedom of expression, the rule of law and democratic practice reflected by the many cases of arbitrary detention, especially on the part of the National Security Service,” the diplomats said Thursday as the world marked International Human Rights.

In the statement, the diplomats expressed solidarity with members of the South Sudanese society, including members of the media, civil society organisations and pointed a finger at the national security service for allegedly violating media freedoms and arbitrarily arresting people in violation of the constitution, which they argued, limits the role of the security to gathering information, making analysis and forwarding findings to relevant institutions instead of involvement in direct arrest and intimidations.

The national security service is an intelligence organ under the supervision of the president.

The diplomats said such restrictions were “very serious violations and abuses of human rights and International Humanitarian Law continuing to occur not exclusively in Unity state".

“A distressing number of the victims of these crimes are women and children. These crimes must be brought to an end and the perpetrators held to account. It recommended that the Hybrid Court for South Sudan after it is established will have to investigate and prosecute individuals bearing responsibility for abuses", further reads the statement.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalist (CPJ), five journalists were killed in direct relation to their work in South Sudan this year. They were killed by unidentified gunmen in January in an ambush as they traveled through Western Bahr el Ghazal state.

(ST)

 

 

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