A United Nations (UN) report released by Human Right Division and the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), has blamed South Sudan’s security agencies — the army (Sudan People’s Liberation Army [SPLA]) and the police — for violation of freedom of expression in the country.
The report mentioned incidents which included the killing of two people, arbitrary arrest and detention of 58 others and dismissal of 16 people from their jobs, blocking websites, censoring newspaper articles and closure or suspension of media houses.
According to the UN report, the government agencies target people with views that were critical of the South Sudanese government.
“The report found that government security forces, including the National Security Service (NSS), Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), and the South Sudan Nation Police Service (SSNPS), were responsible for two thirds of the verified cases. It stated that the NSS’ broad powers of surveillance, arrest and detention, including the imbedding of its officers in some newspaper printing establishments, meant that people were deterred from participating and discussing the state of the country or human rights. It has led to a growing climate of self-censorship,” The UN report reads
The Special Representative of the Secretary –General and Head of UNMISS, David Shearer, called for genuine inclusivity of all voices in South Sudan for the attainment of peace.
It is vital that the voices of all the people of South Sudan are heard so that genuine, inclusive and durable peace can be achieved,” said Shearer.
“All parties to the conflict must respect people’s right to freedom of expression regardless of their ethnicity, beliefs or political views.”
South Sudan’s government spokesperson wasn’t available for comment.