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Body urges S. Sudan to protect human rights defenders

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April 3, 2018 (KAMPALA) - A South Sudan human rights body has urged government to enact laws to protect human rights defenders.

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SPLM (IO) deputy chairman for justice and human rights affairs, Samuel Dong Luak, pictured after his return from hospital, Nairobi, October 13, 2015 (ST Photo)

The Centre for Peace and Justice (CPJ), in a statement, said such laws should have contents that include provisions that protect human rights defenders and rights entities from individual attacks.

“There is no law in the country that protect human rights defenders and that is why any human rights defender is considered as "rebels" or "agent of the west" by most of government officials who are always threatening human rights defenders,” said CPJ’s executive director, Tito Anthony.

He said all human rights defenders need to be protected from being called such names and they must be protected from being harmed.

“Human rights activist have all rights to document, monitor and report on the country human rights situation for advocacy and democracy building purposes,” stressed Tito.

He added, “Human rights work is not about spying on the country as many government officials put it, but it about advocating for the improvement of a [particular] situation for the better”.

In February, a South Sudan lawyer petitioned to the African Commission on Human and People’s Right over the illegal detention by South Sudanese authorities since January 2017 of human rights activists Samuel Dong Luak and Aggrey Idri.

Wani Santino Jada says he has credible information that the two human rights activists are being held by the national security in Juba.

Both Luak and Idri were kidnapped belatedly on 23 January 2017, in the evening by Kenyan security personnel, allegedly collaborating with their South Sudanese counterparts, family members said.

The disappearance of the two South Sudanese officials drew lots of criticisms from human rights defenders across the globe, accusing the Kenyan government of targeting South Sudanese on their soil.

(ST)

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