Calls For President Kiir To Reverse His Order And Urges University Of Juba’s Administration To Defend Academic Freedom,
Oct 25, 2015(Nyamilepedia) — The South Sudan Human Rights Society for Advocacy(SSHURSA) condemns in strongest terms possible the dismissal of Dr Luka Biong Deng from his lecturing position at University of Juba, South Sudan.
SSHURSA has learned with dismay that Dr Luka Biong Deng , the director of Centre for Peace and Development Studies at the University of Juba; has been summarily dismissed from his lecturing position and equally told to immediately leave South Sudan. This has been at an alleged order of South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir whom is said to have been angered by Dr Biong’s organising public discussion on the constitutionality of President Kiir’s recent ‘establishment order’ meant to alter South Sudan’s constitutionally stipulated ten states to 28 states.
The dismissal of Dr Biong from his lecturing position and subsequent expulsion from South Sudan, is unconstitutional and violates some provisions of South Sudan’s Bill of Rights as enshrined in the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan 2011(TCSS 2011). It also negates South Sudan’s pledged role to protect human rights as a member of African Union and United Nations whose human rights instruments protect freedoms of individual. Instead, President Kiir’s unfair act against Dr Biong, violates all these provisions. SSHURSA condemns such violations of personal freedom and public right to information as high-handedness of President Kiir.
Article 24(1) of TCSS 2011 states;
“every citizen shall have the right to the freedom of expression, reception and dissemination of information, publication, and access to the press without prejudice to public order, safety or morals as prescribed by law”
President kiir violated the above provision by denying Dr Biong’s and pulic right to free speech. Article 25 of TCSS 2011 provides for the right to freedom of assembly and association. Article 32 of TCSS 2011 provides for every citizen’s right to access information while article 38(2)(a) of TCSS 2011 obliges national government to guarantee academic freedom at institutions of higher education.
By ordering dismissal and expulsion of Dr Biong, simply because he has organised a public discussion forum that avails citizens an opportunity to get information and debate on a matter (establishment order) that touches on their lives, President Kiir has violated all the above-mentioned constitutionally guaranteed rights.
SSHURSA further observes that Dr Biong was playing his duty as citizen in providing an avenue that allowed citizens to debate on a public matter and such discussion enhances the citizens’ constitutional duty of acting on guided and informed actions based on the interests of the nation in order to promote harmony, peace, unity, tolerance, democracy, good governance and rule of law which has been provided for under article 46(2)(b), (h) and (i) of the TCSS 2011.
President Kiir, as a citizen in the first place, has equally failed his duty to respect the rights of others as within the provision of article 46(2)(j) of the TCSS 2011.
Dr Biong’s constitutional rights to personal liberty and to fair trial under articles 12 and 19 of the TCSS 2011 have been too violated by this order. If President Kiir believed that the accused has violated any law of South Sudan which is untrue in this case, why didn’t the government charge him and try him before a competent court of law? A summary dismissal of the accused as this, amounted to violations of his rights to just treatment and fair trial guaranteed by law.
The order is direct curtailing of academic and public freedom of speech and is against the very values of freedom and human rights for which South Sudanese fought against successive dictatorial regimes of the Sudan.
President Kiir, as head of an independent state that is part of global community of nations, should stop disrespecting the pledged role of observing the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and United Nations human rights instruments. Some of these documents though South Sudan is not yet a state party however, by virtue of its membership, Salva Kiir, as head of South Sudan ought to be obliged to respect the values and human rights provisions of these entities, only by mere fact of South Sudan’s membership to these rights bodies.
SSHURSA urgently calls on President Salva Kiir to immediately reverse his dismissal order of Dr Biong, reinstates him, because the order remains unconstitutional, accords him(Biong) necessary respect and protection as he returns to South Sudan to continue offering his needed services to the people of South Sudan.
SSHURSA also urges the top administration of University of Juba not to shy away and simply succumbs to the unconstitutional order of the government. Instead, as public institution of higher learning, it should stand bold in protecting academic freedom and public right to information by rejecting dictates of the government which squarely violate the bill of rights in TCSS 2011.
SSHURSA is a non-political and non-profit-making national human rights organisation. It was founded on 5 June 2007, by South Sudanese lawyers and Law Students at Makerere Law Development Centre (LDC), Kampala, Uganda. In South Sudan, its operations started since 2009. VISION STATEMENT: “A democratic and human rights abiding South Sudan” MISSION STATEMENT: “To monitor, document and publish human rights status in South Sudan and to train general public on constitution, human rights, fundamental freedoms of an individual, transitional justice, rule of law and democracy to creating an informed, responsible, justice and good governance oriented South Sudan” For more information about above statement or SSHURSA, contact us on: E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our webpage: www.sshursa.org