Rights group urges an end to human rights abuses in South Sudan

Abusive surveillance and violations of international humanitarian law in South Sudan must end, said Amnesty International at the UN Human Rights Council convened today.

“Amnesty International remains deeply concerned by the grave human rights situation in South Sudan. As the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan (CoHRSS) has detailed, South Sudan has ‘witnessed a massive escalation in violence perpetrated by organized tribal militias’ over the past year, fuelled by failure of the signatories to implement the 2018 peace agreement.”

It said that 2020 was the most violent year South Sudan has seen since 2017. Amnesty International documented a series of extrajudicial executions, forced displacement, torture, and destruction of civilian property by government and former opposition forces between April and June in Central Equatoria State, southwest of the capital Juba.

The rights body, Amnesty International said “it remains concerned about continued shrinking of civic space, including violations of the right to freedom of expression. A recent Amnesty International investigation revealed that the government, primarily through the National Security Service (NSS), conducts abusive surveillance, using communications interception technology bought from an Israeli company called Verint Systems; and a national and cross-border network of informants and agents to monitor all levels of society and daily life, including print and social media.”

“This surveillance is being conducted without legal safeguards, in breach of the right to privacy, and is being used to arbitrarily arrest and illegally detain individuals and infringe on press freedoms and the rights to freedom of opinion and expression and the freedom of assembly.”

“Together with 38 NGOs, Amnesty International urged the UN Human Rights Council to renew, in full, the CoHRSS’s mandate until the Hybrid Court for South Sudan is fully functional and operational.”

“It concluded its statement by asking the Commissioners to detail all major outstanding obstacles to the enjoyment of the rights to freedom of opinion and expression and the freedom of assembly in South Sudan.”

Racism Is Real & It Exists! Knee On The Neck With Hands in the pockets: Racism

An irresponsible white police officer kneels on the neck of an armed black man, George Floyd for 8 minutes before his death | Photo credit: N/A

Opinion | By Mary N. Maker

June 1, 2020 (Thessherald)–My dear people of South Sudan, please allow me to firstly share my hyped emotions regarding the inhuman act that took place in America, “the great and powerful nation” on Monday the 25th May 2020, which claimed a life of a human being, brother George Floyd. Having lost my dearest brother in the hands of a heartless, racist man back in 2013, whose evil actions were racially motivated, I put myself in the shoes of Mr Floyd’s family today and feel the pain with them again.

My brother’s murderer admitted to the police that he was filled with rage against black people because he was once beaten up by a group of African boys back in the UK. He carried the hatred towards Africans from UK to Australia where my poor brother became the victim, leaving the family in a complete despair for the rest of the remaining years, just like Floyd’s family are today

My heart breaks for Mr. Floyd’s family, friends and the Black Americans in general. No one deserves to go through such inhuman treatment in the hands of another human being. It is not only wrong but devilish!

Secondly, the leadership: What the leaders say will either de-escalate the situation or escalate it. D. Trump fuelled this situation by vomiting out senseless words like calling the hurting mob thugs and adding this statement, “when looting starts, shooting starts!” This was wrong! I believe we can now see what happens when we don’t calculate well the words that we speak out in situations. I believe that we have learnt something from president DT during this soaring moment following the unfortunate death of GF(RIP Gentle Giant).

Thirdly and perhaps my last point is, having done a little reflection on the death of GF, that’s without closely watching the horrific video but seeing bits and pieces of it through the protests’ clips, series of things ran through my mind regarding this Knee On the Neck ! Let’s face it, how many times have we said or done things that put other people’s lives at risk?

Here are a few if not a million!

• Silencing of the outspoken individuals in our country, the likes of late Isaiah Diing, late Samuel Dong, late Idriss and many other innocent lives that have been lost in our country without a just cause is a: Knee On The Neck !

• 2013 and 2016 wars that claimed thousands of lives without a reasonable cause is a: Knee On The Neck !

• Women and girls that have been sexually exploited, whether while they were looking for employment or on the job, manipulation or blackmail of any kind, deceiving of their illiterate parents in the villages in the name of putting them girls in schools yet they end up being used for sex tools, all fall under the Knee On The Neck!

• The numerous rapes and killing of women and girls in the name of war is a: Knee On The Neck !

• Tribalism that has led to the gross hatred and instigation of wars among the people of South Sudan is a: Knee On The Neck !

• Leaders that have willingly and knowingly set the country back from its original intended Independence and prosperity is a: Knee On The Neck

• Nepotism and favouritism that engulfed our country for well over a decade is a: Knee On The Neck ! The mere civilians have and continue to suffer because only the few elites are enjoying the country!

• Blue House that threatens and tortures the civilians and activists instead of a Rehabilitation Centre that helps to pave a better way for traumatized citizens is a: Knee On The Neck !

• Women being told that NOW is not the time for you to lead our country because everything is military is nothing but a: Knee On The Neck !

The list could continue but one must stop and drop her kids to school. But before I close the chapter, I want to ask, how many people are feeling outraged, angry and mad about the way our brother GF has been murdered? Good! Ask yourself, what am I doing now that might be an indirect distraction of life to my fellow brother or sister in my own country?

The writer is a South Sudanese human rights activist, who lives in a foreign country.

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Rights group urges UN to pressure S. Sudan to reform its security sector

Thessherald)–Amnesty International, a human rights organization, has called on the United Nations Human Rights Council to continue to press South Sudan to reform its intelligence agency and ensure justice for all victims who have been affected during the conflict in South Sudan.

“Amnesty International expressed concern that the South Sudanese government has consistently failed to investigate and prosecute suspects of crimes under international law committed during the 2013 conflict, owing to lack of political will and a lack of independence of its justice systems,” said Amnesty International in its statement.

Addressing the panel of experts at the United Nations Human Rights Council in the past few days, Amnesty International expressed concerns about the human rights situation in South Sudan and the lack of accountability for international crimes committed in connection with the conflict that broke out in December 2013.

Amnesty International’s recommendations for comprehensive security sector reforms.

• The South Sudanese authorities must urgently amend the 2014 NSS Act to curb the agency’s unchecked powers that contravene the 2011 Transitional Constitution and reform it in line with international human rights standards.

• President Salva Kiir must ensure that no individuals sanctioned by the UN Security Council for their role in human rights violations become part of the RTGoNU. Instead, suspects of grave crimes committed in relation to the 2013 conflict must be prosecuted.

• The South Sudanese authorities must promptly sign the Memorandum of Understanding with the African Union and enact the Statute for the Hybrid Court for South Sudan.

• The UN Human Rights Council must renew in full the mandate of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan during its current session.