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Human rights group condemns closure of Lakes state radio station


July 1, 2013 (JUBA) - A leading human rights group in South Sudan has condemned in the "strongest terms" last week’s decision to close Rumbek-based Good News Radio, which is part of the Catholic Radio Network.

Lakes state’s minister of information and communications, Dut Makoi Kuok, summoned the station’s manager, Peter Mapuor Makur Malith, to present the broadcaster’s license on Friday but despite providing documents the station was taken off air.

According to the South Sudan Human Rights Society for Advocacy (SSHURSA), minister Kuok alleged that the station had been reporting on human rights abuses in the state and claimed that the programs and activities at the station have been politicised.

Using such reasons to take the radio station off the air was an attack on the "heart of South Sudan’s Constitution", SSHURSA said in a statement, which accused Kuok of misusing his powers, not following the law and acting outside his mandate.

"This must be condemned by anyone who cares about South Sudan’s current and
future democratic and rule of law based governance", the group’s statement said.

The 2011 Transitional Constitution of South Sudan 2011 allows for the right to freedom of expression and media. Article 24(1) states:

"Every citizen shall have the right to the freedom of expression, reception and dissemination of information, publication, and access to the press without prejudice to public order, safety or morals as prescribed by law".

SSHURSA argue that minister Kuok has failed to demonstrate that any breach of the law has been committed by the popular radio station, which broadcasts mainly in English and Dinka and the eight counties of Lakes and parts of some neighbouring states.

Closing down the station because of its coverage of human rights abuses "is contrary to the spirit of the Constitution" the advocacy group said.

Article 24(2) of South Sudan’s constitution states:"All levels of government shall guarantee the freedom of the press and other media as shall be regulated by the law in a democratic Society."

The actions of minister Kuok, the group said, were akin to those "typical of a military dictatorship", which was "unacceptable" considering the number of lives lost in South Sudan’s struggle for self determination and eventual independence from north Sudan in 2011.

Closing the radio station was "illegal and a reminder to South Sudanese of Khartoum’s
oppression and military dictatorships on South Sudanese over the last
decades", the release says.

The Lakes state government’s constant intimidation and harassment of media personnel and human rights defenders, is incompatible with the values fought for during the civil war with Khartoum and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the group said.

Since the elected governor Chol Tong Mayay was replaced by military caretaker governor Matur Chut Dhuol in January, Dhuol has introduced a string of controversial security measures, such as holding suspects of cattle raiding and other violence in military prisons without trial.

In June Human Rights Watch reported that "South Sudanese soldiers have unlawfully detained and ill-treated more than 130 civilians since February 2013 in response to armed violence and inter-communal fighting in Lakes state".

Many of those who escape or are released complain of torture and ill-treatment in the secretive military prisons.

The station manager of Radio Good News, Peter Mapuor Makur is under pressure to leave his job, according to SSHURSA, which asked the central government to direct the Lakes state government to reinstate the Radio Good News with immediate affect and urge the governor Duol "to act within the confines, spirit and letter of the Constitution."

The statement from SSHURSA’s executive director, Biel Boutros Biel, urged the justice ministry and South Sudan Constitutional Court "to protect against the open abuse of the Constitution by the Lakes States Government".

Biel also suggested that the South Sudan’s parliament "summon and question the Lakes State Caretaker Governor Major General Matur Chut Dhuol, on the human rights abuses that have been taking place in Lakes State since his leadership started."


ST - Lakes state government shutdown Catholic Radio Good News in Rumbek

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  • 2 July 2013 10:04, by Samuel Malual

    Can blind man be able to deepen the forst alone without sight walking person that can directed the blind man? Lakes State is under a blind leadersjip and disfunctional government of illiterate Mj General Matir Chut. The nature of this regime has confirmed brutality of matur and Daniel AwetAkot. It is the right time for Lakes community to petition president Kiir to remove Matur and his Stepfather

    • 2 July 2013 17:29, by Ayuiu Makuac Lam

      what is your achievement if you are not blind and iliteracy? you always insulting governor and state cabinates in their affairs why? Please if you know yourself that you are educated, do not insult people everyday. Your English grammer you spoke is very demishing keep desficated knowledge, abusing people always is challenge in your future leadership.

      • 3 July 2013 04:24, by Samuel Malual

        @ Ayuiu, It is too clear on this forum that you are dieheart support of illiterate Mj General Matur Chut Dhouldit Mathiang Ajuong. I don‘t blame you are blind from inside your heart. If you were not that blindfolded heart, then why are you always supporting Matur in commiting atrocities against innocent pple? Do you want you mother to bevlocked up first so that you can acknowledges injustice happe

  • 2 July 2013 10:19, by Samuel Malual

    Paul Mayom Akec Riek who blessed him with governorship. the mighty Damoel Awet is also working inside Matur by directing him to commit human rights violation against innocent citizens in Lakes State. Awet is known of killing people if they hve problem. He killed a man from Aweil because of eating chicken eggs during the liberation fighting. And he is responsible of other lives especially killing

  • 2 July 2013 10:22, by JONGLEI VISION

    Look Keen,
    People are looking for all types of the communications to maitain the security connection and to reduce the crimes which have been done by certains group against other around the Countrywide; while the Military Care Taker Governor Gen. Chut is leading the Bless People of the Lakes State in to Darkness and Remote State instead to modernize it.
    Good Luck,

  • 2 July 2013 10:27, by Samuel Malual

    especially the killing of seniors commanders he was always behind the seen.

    • 2 July 2013 10:34, by Peter Mading

      I personnally now support the human rights on this issue. I did condemn the first wrong/bad statement of D-Governor "Crucifixion". Matur Chut must go out from Lakes State. He has become a messy. He is out of his mission terms/limits.

  • 2 July 2013 10:48, by Marco Bul

    Lawless State wanted to b left as it was.Naas giladebeen!

  • 2 July 2013 11:30, by peter wade

    May God protect people of Lakes state. Salva Kiir, the president of South Sudan is lossing support from Rumbek Public. People need to be supported through their constitituon mandate. Were is Manyang Mayom to imposed Human Right on this roughless government of Lakes state? God hear us.

    • 2 July 2013 12:03, by Tutbol

      Stop smoking what you are smoking fellow, these guys are not human right activities, as you cheated to believe; but the monsters who want our people to live in their Europeans civilisation we all know are out in force with their Europeans vegeance, to intimidate guys that are out of their sphere of Europeans’ influences. No wonder why the UNSC, including the same Europeans’ nations>>>

  • 2 July 2013 13:20, by Lual Mayomdit

    Human rights group need to workout of cities and educate the ppl of their rights or do they think killing aech other inisolation from the govt is their right to do?it seem educated ppl are worse even than to illitered ones.misinforming the community on political interest led to more tribal hatred and killing.The psychological behaviuors of war effects resulted to more ignorence.what a world?

  • 2 July 2013 18:55, by George Bol

    I don’t see good leaders in lake State because citizens in this state do not like leaders.This is a fact!

    • 2 July 2013 23:50, by panom lualbil

      Thank you all by LAKE STATE. I agreed with decision to shut down "radio broadcast" whether it belong to church or not if it was used to broadcast worlds about news-human abuse whenever it shouldn’t supposed to.

      • 3 July 2013 00:06, by panom lualbil

        There are "civilians abuse and nyagates abuse" counterpart where human right is taking side bcoz these criminals are certain. I withdrew my confidence from "Human Right" regarding its petition letter if president amnesty can also help rebels in jails who were caught of killing civilians.

    • 3 July 2013 11:05, by JONGLEI VISION

      Dear George Bol,
      Can you prove it how the people of the Lakes State dislike the leader(s)? And who is the leader they don’t want?
      Is the Military Care Taker Governor Gen. Chut Dhuol fulfill the Needs of the Lakes State’s people?

  • 3 July 2013 16:13, by JONGLEI VISION

    Plse bring Prof. Moses Machar Kachuol as elected Governor for Lakes State; who will react? Unless the people whom have been humiliated and ignored the rights of the people of Lakes State.

  • 3 July 2013 16:13, by JONGLEI VISION

    Plse bring Prof. Moses Machar Kachuol as elected Governor for Lakes State; who will react? Unless the people whom have been humiliated and ignored the rights of the people of Lakes State.

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