August 2018 (Nyamilepedia) – Diplomatic missions of the world powers in South Sudan’s capital Juba have decried the deteriorating justice system in South Sudan as the government is still carrying out extra-judicial killings and arrests against its citizens.
The condemnation by the world powers came barely a week after the South Sudan government arrested a prominent political and human rights activist Peter Biar Ajak who was arrested at the country’s Juba International Airport while leaving for Aweil.
In a join statement issued on Friday by the heads of missions of the United States, Canada, European Union, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdoms, the world powers said they are concerned about the detention of Biar Ajak.
“We are deeply troubled by the arrest and ongoing detention by the South Sudanese National Security Service (NSS) of youth activist Peter Biar Ajak on the morning of Saturday 28 July 2018. He has now been detained for over six days,” said the joint statement.
The statement further said the world bodies are deeply concerned about the harassment and the intimidation of the civic actors and the increasing restrictions on the freedom of expression which are all enshrined in the South Sudan constitution
“We are deeply concerned by the harassment and intimidation of civic actors; restrictions on freedom of expression and association; and arbitrary detention in South Sudan, as documented in the UNMISS and Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights report on the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression in South Sudan and in the Report of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan,” the statement said.
The statement said maintaining a civic space is essential for a sustainable peace in the country saying the 2017 ceasefire agreement obliged every signatory to ensure the protection of human rights and the media plus the civil society.
“This is of great concern in the context of the ongoing peace process, as building trust and maintaining a vibrant civic space is an essential prerequisite of sustainable peace. In this regard, the 2017 Cessation of Hostilities Agreement obliges the parties to at all times protect the human rights of civilians and ensure protection of media and Civil Society,” said the statement.
The world powers further urged the government of South Sudan to release Peter Biar Ajak or to charge him in a court of law in a timely manner.
“We therefore call on the government to either release Peter Biar Ajak, or to bring charges against him in a timely manner in accordance with the rule of law and to grant him access to a lawyer. We also call on the government and all parties to the conflict to encourage, support and safeguard the right of any individual to freedom of opinion and expression,” it said.