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S. Sudan parliament passes security bill amid protests

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October 8, 2014 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s parliament have passed a new national security bill in its fourth and final reading on Wednesday despite a walk-out by opposition members and a section of ruling party lawmakers.

South Sudanese MPs stand during a parliamentary session in Juba on August 31, 2011 (AFP)

The bill, described by rights groups and activists as repressive, gives the country’s National Security Service (NSS) the power to arrest suspects without a warrant, although they must appear in court within 24 hours.

Minority leader Onyoti Adigo, of the opposition SPLM-DC, said the latest sitting should have been adjourned for at least 72 hours, as stipulated in the parliamentary code of business conduct, to give MPs more time to read additional amendments made to the bill.

“As the official opposition in this parliament, I requested that this has to be suspended, but the ruling party (SPLM) is saying no, because they have been sitting on it and they know what is happening. We are going to leave the house and you remain discussing. We will not be [a part] of it,” said Adigo prior to walking out in protest, along with other SPLM-DC MPs.

About 20 MPs representing Eastern, Central and Western Equatoria states also questioned the parliamentary proceedings and before leaving the house.

The group, led by Eastern Equatoria MP Hentry Odua, told reporters outside parliament that the bill gives security agents sweeping powers.

“The speaker bulldozed [the proceeding and] they are going to push through a controversial bill to govern this country,” said Odua.

“I think that leaves a lot to say about which direction this country is going,” he added.

Lawmakers last week cancelled a scheduled debate on a bill at the last minute on Thursday, and further delaying the adoption of the document.

The delay came after MPs had raised concerns over the powers granted to the NSS in the bill to arrest “any person suspected of committing a crime or about to commit” a crime, although the item was subsequently amended to read “suspects”.

At the time, the chairperson of defence, security and public order, Samuel Duwar Deng, said the reason for the delay was also to allow MPs more time to read the full text of the document and the amendments.

Deng this week applauded the passing of the bill, describing it as a joyful occasion.

“It is actually very good. It is joyful to the people of South Sudan and to the [national security] service itself, because from here we will be assured the work of the service will be running smoothly,” Deng told reporters after MPs passed the bill.

Salva Mathok, an SPLM MP from Warrap state, says MPs who walked out did so as is their right, adding their decision should not be interpreted as meaning the parliament is sharply divided.

“Any member of parliament who is discontented with that item or agenda being discussed can just go out and it is not a new thing,” he said.

“Even myself, if I was not in [support of] that line I would have even walked out with them,” he added.

The bill now has to be signed by president Salva Kiir in order to be passed into law.

In a statement released last Friday, the US said it was “deeply concerned” by elements in the bill that sought to regulate the operations of non-government organisations.

“We are deeply concerned that the current NGO bill, as drafted, could restrict civil society space and hinder the formation and operation of NGOs. As the leading donor of humanitarian and development assistances in South Sudan, we are particularly concerned that this bill would further restrict the delivery of life-saving humanitarian assistance and limit the important work that NGOs are doing to promote health, education and overall development,” US state department spokesperson Jen Psaki said in the statement.

Human rights groups have also raised concerns over the bill, calling for it to be overhauled to ensure that it conforms with international standards.

Amnesty International described this mandate, which grants the NSS “virtually unrestricted powers of arrest, search and seizure” as “fundamentally flawed”, and against domestic and international laws.

Analysts argue that the draft bill does not mention legally permissible places of detention and does not guarantee the right of individuals detained to effective defense or the constitutional right to communicate in private with a lawyer at the moment of arrest.

“While the National Security Service urgently needs a legal mandate, any law passed must ensure appropriate limits on its powers and provide individuals adequate opportunity for redress. It grants officers immunity from criminal proceedings, opening the door to impunity," said Amnesty International researcher Elizabeth Deng.

Meanwhile, the US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) also called for the draft legislation to be amended to regulate the powers of the NSS amid fears the bill would “sanction the national security service’s abusive and unlawful detentions and interrogations”.

(ST)

- Rights body urges S. Sudanese lawmakers to reject security bill
- Security bill: US calls for inclusive consultations in S. Sudan
- S. Sudan parliament delays security bill discussions for second time

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  • 9 October 2014 07:22, by hellonearth

    the error of people abductions and disappearances has just began. if your loved once has been missing for more than a day then he/she is dead.

    repondre message

    • 9 October 2014 07:29, by Malakal county Simon

      That Bill it’s encouraging more rebellion, and Juba will be deserted soon with the exception of Bar-El-Ghazel peoples only.....

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      • 9 October 2014 07:57, by Mi diit

        Nyankiir Museveni in Kampala as usual begging her father and de’facto president of South Sudan, criminal and murderer of John Garang. Museveni has turned South Sudan into a colonial enclave under this shameless Dinka president. He last time visited Bor without permission from his junior Kiir. What a shame that the country is in the hands of dogs.

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        • 9 October 2014 08:09, by Mi diit

          The Bible says when a righteous leader rules a nation, the people are happy and prosperous, but when an evil leader rules the nation bleeds and mourns. This is what South Sudan is facing now with that evil leader called Salva Kiir Mayardit.

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          • 9 October 2014 08:10, by Mi diit

            Kiir, soon you will see a war you have never seen before and you will end up either dead or captured as predicted by your fake prophet of Nigeria whose church collapsed. You will NEVER reach December 15, the day you massacred innocent Nuer souls. Their blood will soon call you and post you to hell.

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            • 9 October 2014 08:12, by Mi diit

              Your region and Warrap will soon be up in flames and they will feel the same suffering as you inflicted on Upper Nile as they will also see you dying on SSTV. It will happen!

              repondre message

            • 9 October 2014 08:49, by michael coma

              Mi diit

              Kiir is elected president not criminal like Machar who likes passing through back door.We have put traps at back doors for Machar.The open way to state house is the main fron door and i don’t see whether you guys will manage it.

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          • 9 October 2014 12:12, by Chol A.

            Despress Midiit, continue with your hatred words against Kiir and his people but I wouldn’t understand why the situation of Kiir still like day one crisis. You been swearing like you will catches Kiir tomorrow but you don’t learning why he still appeared on TV and public! Don’t you felt a shame of your stupid words all the time?

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        • 9 October 2014 17:16, by Mayom County Boy

          Madiit & malakal county simon,security bill was passed yesterday,please stop confusing goverment with your white liars.

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          • 10 October 2014 09:58, by chuol

            James Ruei Majok (Mayom County Boy)

            Stop calling our brave soldiers Mi diit and Malakal County Simon as Lairs.
            didn’t you feel ashamed of insulting people as big as your father Majok in term of education?

            repondre message

    • 9 October 2014 08:53, by Ayuiu Makuac Lam

      National security service Bill which passed is a non effect on citizens follow the law, but criminals people are fearing because it will affect them brutally. No problem Onyoti Odigo withdraw from the discussion.
      The bill is accompany with stability in capital and also in the states for everybody to live in peace.

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    • 9 October 2014 10:52, by maumau

      Warrap and Lakes States are killing our country, this is pure dictatorship, repressive governance and lack human rights. It is very bad for our country especially journalists who would want to do their work by informing the citizens of what is going on both positive and negative. Unfortunately some people are still supporting this government. Salva Kiir and tyrannies must go, their days are number

      repondre message

      • 9 October 2014 13:01, by Mapuor

        Maumau

        Do you think Magok Rundial is from Lakes and Warrap.Magok Rundial is from Unity state and he is the current speaker of the assembly.If You have issues with Dinkas of Lakes and Warrap try to address it separately.MPs who passed the bill are from all areas of South Sudan.Empowering NS is not bad for you will be protected by the NS.

        repondre message

  • 9 October 2014 08:07, by Ankh

    Those eqoutorian mps will soon be called rebels, traitors etc .

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    • 9 October 2014 17:50, by Nyesi Ta

      Reports from inner circles at the presidential palace in Juba are that the president had secret talks with his closest tribesmen as to what they can do with the MPS who voted against the bill. The immediate targets includes members of the opposition who walked out and those Equatorian MPS who voted against the controversial security bill. This bill has set South Sudan in a wrong political path.

      repondre message

  • 9 October 2014 08:13, by Joseph Canada

    This is the best reason why Dinka need to live by themselves to apply this barbaric Laws to themselves.
    Its just a wake up call to the realities that will happen like the Killing in BUDI County E.E. State by the SPLA Soldiers stationed there. They killed even the police Officers and the mentally ill former war Veterans. Equatorians should now decide.

    repondre message

    • 9 October 2014 08:57, by michael coma

      Joseph Canada

      Equatorians are not fool like you.The peaceful people in South Sudan are Equatorians.Join Riek Machar alone but not whole Equatoria.

      repondre message

    • 9 October 2014 10:19, by Redeemer

      Joseph
      Mark me right, we the Dinkas, we are praying that one day one time, a none Dinka will come to power and from there people who will leave SSudan will never come back, because you people are refusing to address the weakness to individuals. All over the world weak or strong leaders come and go. We would have been a very successful country, just a matter of learning from other countries.

      repondre message

      • 9 October 2014 18:59, by Joseph Canada

        Am glad you have that vision Brother. The problem with our nation is this. Those who get big money and have criminal and Dirty hands in South Sudan will do anything to stay in power just like they do in Zimbabwe. The Generals in Zimbabwe have to do everything in their power to get Mogabe elected so that they can’t go to Jail. So does the Parliament of the Greedy in SS. Every state is on Proxy wars

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  • 9 October 2014 11:09, by Padiet Deng Alony

    NISS law will not affect the normal suffering citizen of South Sudan only the fifth column are afraid of it. when there is no law people cry there is no law now the law is there too people are crying. i do not know which one will be good for the those who complain.there is no country without law.

    repondre message

    • 9 October 2014 11:23, by Mi diit

      Pro-Nyankiir followers. You now ignorantly support this repressive security law but tomorrow we will use it to arrest, torture and search your asses when your head chief is out of power. A stick doesn’t recognize its owner. We will beat you damn hard using that stick (law) before we introduce a civilized law. You will reap what you sow you idiots.

      repondre message

      • 9 October 2014 13:06, by Mapuor

        Midiit

        Please tell your boss to accept peace,people back home are facing famine,there is no food in Leer.Stop doing nonsense and try to save lives.Your coup has destroyed the whole Upper Nile.

        repondre message

        • 9 October 2014 14:01, by chuol

          STUPID MAPUOR MALUAL PAWEER

          STOP ABUSING THE DEMOCRATIC LEADER DR MACHAR.
          MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS YA KUSUM.
          I GOT YOU LAST WEEK DRUNK IN HOME AND AWAY HOTEL SPEAKING NONSENSE AGAINST THE NUER WARRIORS. TAKE CARE MY DEAR.I KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE OTHERWISE BEHAVE WELL. ALFRED TABAN AND MICHAEL COMA WOULDNT ALLOW SUCH A TRIBALIST LIKE YOU TO BE THEIR OPINION WRITER

          repondre message

          • 9 October 2014 14:33, by Redeemer

            Chuol
            I wish your 15 Dec.coup succeeded, by this time you would have been saying. " I wish I was from Kuku tribe

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          • 9 October 2014 18:40, by what the hell

            Chuol
            You shut the fuck up mother fucker who told you Nuer are warrior you stupid why are your brothers staying in the camp, and how did you gets to home and way hotel all Nuers in juba restricted from moving around juba stop lying

            repondre message

  • 9 October 2014 14:47, by Madut Tong

    when will our MPs be prudent enough not to repeat the same mistakes of the Transitional Constitution about the powers given to Mr. President. These powers should not be given to the security organs in a Democratic country, but in a tyrant one.

    repondre message

  • 10 October 2014 10:58, by History has Records

    There are decisions some people make today that will end up ruining an entire family image, watch out those in parliament, you are not there fulfilling your filthy selfish watery desires, the society is watching you!

    repondre message

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