Human rights groups stated that after the recent arrest, peaceful protests “must be promoted, not suppressed.”
Amnesty International warned that South Sudan is witnessing a “new wave of repression” and many activists are now in hiding after a series of arrests in recent weeks.
The newest country in the world has suffered from long-term instability since then Independence ten years ago, A coalition of civil society groups recently called on the government to step down, saying they “have had enough.”
According to human rights organizations, the authorities took a hard line on these demands, arresting eight activists and detaining three journalists and two employees of a democratic non-profit organization.
In a statement, Amnesty International Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, Deprose Muchena, said: “We are witnessing a new wave of repression against the right to freedom of speech, association and peaceful assembly in South Sudan. statement.
The crackdown came after the Civil Action People’s Alliance (PCCA) announced a public uprising calling for peace last month.
The PCCA had urged the public to participate in the protests in Juba on Monday, but the capital remained silent because the authorities called the demonstration “illegal” and stated that any such activities requiring a change of leadership were not peaceful. Fully armed security forces were deployed to monitor the streets for any signs of opposition.
“Peaceful protests must be promoted, not suppressed or prevented through arrests, harassment, large-scale security deployments or any other punitive measures,” Muchena said.
Amnesty International pointed out that since the abortion of the demonstration, many activists have been facing harassment, “some people suspect that they are under surveillance by security forces.”
The rights group also stated that it received reports of Internet outages on the eve of the planned protests.
“The shutdown and interruption of the Internet adversely affects people’s ability to exercise their rights to freedom of information, speech, association and peaceful assembly. South Sudanese authorities and Internet service providers must clarify their role in the interruption,” Muchena said.
The authorities also shut down a radio station and a think tank related to the protests.
In a statement issued on Friday, the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom and Norway urged the South Sudanese government to protect “citizens…the right to express their opinions peacefully without fear of arrest.”
Since independence from Sudan in 2011, South Sudan has been in the throes of a prolonged economic and political crisis, and is struggling to recover from the aftermath of a five-year civil war that killed nearly 400,000 people.
Although the ceasefire and power-sharing agreement reached by President Salva Kiir and his deputy Riek Machar in 2018 is still largely valid, it is undergoing severe tests. Hardly any progress has been made in fulfilling the provisions of the peace process.
The People’s Coalition for Civil Action (PCCA)-a broad coalition of activists, academics, lawyers and former government officials-condemned what it said “a bankrupt politics that has become so dangerous and has caused great suffering to our people.” System”.