South Sudan government releases detainees in Western Bahr Al-Ghazal, ICRC confirms
October 19th 2018 (Nyamilepedia) – South Sudan government said on Friday that it has released 16 prisoners in Western Bahr Al-Ghazal state capital Wau – something it said is consistent with the peace agreement signed in September by the conflicting parties.
The International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) also announced that it facilitated the release of the detainees numbering 24 including some by opposition groups this week.
South Sudan government and opposition groups including the SPLM-IO led by former First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon signed the long-awaited revitalized agreement last month in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to end the ongoing civil war.
There was an agreement to end hostilities in June between the warring forces known as the permanent ceasefire agreement but government in Juba is yet to release any single inmate under its custody in Juba.
“Our role in this week’s releases was to first ensure that all detainees were handed over voluntarily and that they had the opportunity to confidentially share their concerns,” François Stamm, the head of delegation for the ICRC in South Sudan said in a statement.
“We then facilitated the releases themselves, safely transporting the former detainees to different parts of the country when necessary, and always with their consent,” he added.
According to the ICRC, the release of the detainees was facilitated by ICRC medical staff who were there to make sure that the detainees are healthy and can travel.
The agreement signed by the warring parties named the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) the ICRC as a facilitator for the release of persons detained in relation to the conflict.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said it was involved in any negotiations that resulted in the release of the detainees, but working at the request of each party with full informed consent of the detainees.
“We offered our services to all sides of the conflict, and confirmed our readiness to act as a neutral facilitator for the release of detainees as requested,” Stamm added.
The ICRC said it monitors the situation of South Sudanese inmates detained in relation to the ongoing South Sudan conflict.
“The ICRC also regularly visits detainees in the places where they are being held in order to monitor their conditions and treatment. The organization works in a confidential way with those in charge of detention matters to discuss possible issues of concern related to the conditions in which detainees are held and their treatment,” he added.