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HRW urges release of South Sudan peace activist


Peter Biar Ajak poses with Bishop Emeritus Paride Taban, on 7 April 2018 (ST Photo)
August 9, 2018 - (JUBA) - Human Rights Watch (HRW) Friday urged the South Sudanese authorities to release or to take to the court Peter Biar Ajak, a peace activist that has been detained without charges since the 28th July.

Further, the rights group stressed that Ajak’s detention is part of a deeply troubling pattern of increasing repression in the country and called for reforms to guarantee the rights of detainees and to curb the sweeping powers of security agents.

“South Sudan’s security agents have long harassed and arbitrarily detained people, apparently to silence independent voices,” said Jehanne Henry, associate Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

“South Sudan desperately needs public dialogue and greater respect for human rights, not more repression and violations,” Henry further stressed.

Ajak is known for his anti-war activism and acerb criticism for President Salva Kiir and the SPLM-IO leader Riek Machar. Also, he lambasted the IGAD-brokered revitalization peace process.

The statement said Ajak’s arrest underlines the need for major reforms to the security service, as the country in line with the peace implementation process which should begin in the upcoming weeks.

The South Sudanese National Security Service (NSS) have arbitrary arrested many activists and political opponents who criticized the government policies that led to the nearly five-year conflict in the young nation.

"Human Rights Watch has documented widespread harassment and unlawful detention of journalists, activists, and members of political opposition groups over the past four and a half years, creating an atmosphere of fear and self-censorship," reads the statement.

The rights body further denounced the harsh conditions of detention and abuse, including beatings and torture, and reported the ordeal of a journalist released on the condition of quitting journalism last January.

During the nine-month of harsh detention period, he told HRW that security agents routinely mistreated him, including beating and kicking him and putting gasoline in his eyes.

“There was no air in my cell, it was difficult to breathe, they refused me to take a bath and put me in a room officers used to urinate in,” he told HRW.

The government and opposition groups signed on 5 August an important deal revitalizing the governance and power-sharing chapter of 2015 peace agreement. The mediation is now preparing for discussions on the implementation matrix paving the way for the full implementation of the revitalized peace agreement.

The peace deal includes a 36-month period to reform law and adopt a new constitution.

Henry called on the South Sudanese authorities to release people held arbitrarily and change the way the national security agency operates.

“National Security officials should be subject to the same oversight as all security forces and held accountable for their abuses," she further added.


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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 9 August 12:58, by Jongo

    Made only in South Sudan This’s really a Contradiction who kills innocent people made a lot of distraction in human lives is been rewarded & given position & always well come But whoever call for peace,love among the people & rights of human being is arrested & been punished for his saying just a word just imagine Guns vs Peace only in jenge government God safe Bra

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    • 10 August 04:28, by Pakuai

      You fellows are always told that you are behind the curve on what is really going in our country. This Peter Biar Ajak is just another foreign puppet/stooge who doesn’t even know what his foreign handlers are using him for. You don’t just go & study piece of trash in the US, the UK, so on and run back to South Sudan, come and claimed to have also gone to the moon with US masters>>>

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      • 10 August 04:38, by Pakuai

        By the way, my own humble self studied in Canada & Germany. and I am the one who will help bombed Mr. Riek Machar so-called ’white army’ here out my home town of Bor, in 2014. And I am the one who will again, help bomb the evil corporate America, the UK, their evil juus, their gulf arab states, their cloned so-called arabs of North Sudan, their UN, UNIMISS & some of their creepy allies in between>

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