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South Sudan

    May 01, 2019
    UN Experts Report Says ‘Highly Probable’ Security Service Killed Dong, Aggrey

    South Sudanese authorities should promptly undertake an independent and effective investigation into the apparent extrajudicial execution of two outspoken critics of the government, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today. Previously unidentified assailants snatched Dong Samuel Luak, a prominent South Sudanese lawyer and human rights activist, and Aggrey Ezbon Idri, a member of the political opposition, from the streets of Nairobi, Kenya in January 2017.

    March 07, 2019

    In a positive development, the Government of South Sudan has been summoned to appear before the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) on 25 March 2019 over the arbitrary arrest and detention of businessman and philanthropist Kerbino Agok Wol.

    The South Sudanese government, and particularly its National Security Service (NSS), is allegedly responsible for widespread human rights violations including arbitrary arrest and detention, and torture and ill-treatment in detention, which are committed with rampant impunity.

    This is the first time ever that the South Sudan government has been taken to the regional court for human rights violations committed by the NSS.

    “Amnesty International welcomes this judicial development which offers a ray of hope for the people of South Sudan who have endured seemingly endless human rights violations and abuses with no justice in sight until now,” said Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    February 28, 2019

    South Sudan authorities executed at least seven people in February 2019 alone, three of whom were from the same family. This is as many as were executed in the whole of 2018 and represents a shocking spike in the use of the death penalty in the country, Amnesty International said today.

    “This confirms our fears that South Sudan authorities have absolutely no respect for the right to life as they continue to totally disregard the fact that the world is moving away from use of the death penalty,” said Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    In December 2018, Amnesty International raised the alarm that the eastern African country had in that year executed more people than in any other year since its independence in 2011.

    The executions in 2018 followed the transfer of at least 135 death row prisoners from county and state prisons to Wau Central Prison and Juba Central Prison, which are equipped with gallows to carry out executions.

    December 13, 2018

    Update

    Between 7 and 10 December 2018 in various media articles, South Sudan’s government denied Amnesty International’s findings about the use of the death penalty. In one article, government spokesperson Ateny Wek Ateny said that no one had been executed in South Sudan since 2011 and that the government had put a moratorium on the death penalty since 2013. In the same article, he however said “If you kill a person, you will be executed.” In another article, Ateny said “the South Sudan government cannot carry out executions because it has signed the international charter.” In response to Amnesty’s finding that a person who had been a child at the time of the crime was amongst the seven people executed in 2018, Ateny said that "the culture of South Sudan cannot accept it."

    November 01, 2018

    Responding to the granting of a presidential pardon to former South Sudanese opposition spokesman James Gatdet Dak and South African national William Endley, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes Joan Nyanyuki said:

    “The pardoning of James Gatdet and William Endley comes as a relief to all who cherish human rights and abhor the death penalty, but more needs to be done. The South Sudanese authorities must commute all death sentences and get on the right side of history by abolishing this ultimate cruel form of punishment.

    “It, however, remains extremely disturbing that Gatdet, a duly registered refugee, was irregularly repatriated to South Sudan by Kenyan authorities, putting his life at grave risk. This repatriation must be fully and independently investigated, and action taken against those responsible.”

    James Gatdet Dak was the spokesman for the Sudan People’s Liberation Army – In Opposition (SPLA-IO) led by former Vice-President Riek Machar when he was taken from his Nairobi home and deported to South Sudan in November 2016.

    October 07, 2018

    Responding to a revolt in the Blue House National Security Service (NSS) detention facility in South Sudan’s capital Juba overnight, Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes said:

    “South Sudanese authorities should urgently de-escalate the situation at the notorious Blue House detention facility, where prolonged incommunicado detention, torture and deaths in custody are rife.

    “Independent observers should be able to monitor any intervention by authorities to help prevent the use of excessive force or other human rights violations. Any use of force must be a last resort and in strict compliance with international law. The right to life and personal security of everyone, including prison guards and bystanders, must be respected.

    “The Blue House revolt points to deep problems within South Sudan’s justice system. President Salva Kiir should keep his promise to release detainees unless they are charged with a recognizable criminal offence. Concerted action is needed to improve the dire conditions in detention.”

    September 19, 2018

    The staggering brutality of a recent military offensive in South Sudan – including murder of civilians, systematic rape of women and girls and massive looting and destruction – was fuelled by the authorities’ failure to prosecute or remove suspected war criminals, Amnesty International said in a new report today.

    'Anything that was breathing was killed': War crimes in Leer and Mayendit, South Sudan is based on the testimonies of around 100 civilians who fled an offensive by government forces and allied youth militias in southern Unity State between late April and early July this year. 

    “A key factor in this brutal offensive was the failure to bring to justice those responsible for previous waves of violence targeting civilians in the region,” said Joan Nyanyuki, Regional Director for East Africa at Amnesty International.

    September 07, 2018

    Following the conviction and sentencing of 10 South Sudanese soldiers in connection with the killing of a journalist and rape of aid workers during an attack on the Terrain Hotel in the capital Juba in July 2016, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, Seif Magango said:

    “After much foot dragging, today’s convictions and sentences represent a first step towards ending chronic impunity in South Sudan, where both government forces and the armed opposition have committed human rights violations and crimes under international law, with complete disregard for human life.

    “These convictions must lead to the crucial next step of ensuring justice for all crimes committed in the ongoing armed conflict, by first and foremost, setting up the much-delayed Hybrid Court for South Sudan agreed in 2015. South Sudanese leaders must keep up the momentum towards ending the climate of impunity in the country.”

    Background

    September 04, 2018

    South Sudanese authorities have arbitrarily arrested, detained, tortured and ill-treated people to the point of death, despite repeated promises to release detainees, said a new Amnesty International briefing out today. 

    “People in South Sudan have been arrested for their political and ethnic affiliations and are then subjected to unimaginable suffering – sometimes leading to death - at the hands of the government’s security forces,” said Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    Between February and July 2017, four men - Mike Tyson, Alison Mogga Tadeo, Richard Otti and Andria Baambe - died in detention due to harsh conditions and inadequate medical care. The four, who were arrested in 2014, were all held without charge, for alleged links to the opposition. Amnesty International has previously documented the deaths of at least 20 people in detention between February 2014 and December 2016.

    July 05, 2018

    As the UN Security Council meets today to review measures aimed at bringing long-overdue peace and stability to South Sudan, Amnesty International is reiterating its longstanding call for the imposition of a comprehensive arms embargo to cut off the supply of weapons being used to kill, maim and destroy the lives of the South Sudanese people.

    “The people of South Sudan have suffered gross human rights violations and war crimes for more than four years now and the world has done very little to end them. The UN Security Council must step up and take a leadership role in ending these atrocities by stopping the flow of arms into South Sudan,” said Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    Amnesty International urges the Security Council and the international community, including manufacturers and suppliers of arms, to take decisive steps to end the mass atrocity crimes in South Sudan by drying up its supply of weapons.

    March 14, 2018

    The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) must boost efforts to protect civilians against the senseless violence that has plagued the country for over four years, and publicly report on the human rights situation, Amnesty International said today.

    The UN Mission, whose mandate is set to be extended tomorrow, has a crucial role to play in providing much-needed civilian protection, and timely public reporting on the human rights situation in the country.

    “With the continuing conflict and associated human rights violations in South Sudan, the possibility of civilians returning to their homes or being resettled remains remote. The Protection of Civilians (POC) sites are truly life-saving for hundreds of ousands of people in desperate need of protection,” said Dr. Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    February 23, 2018

    Responding to today’s UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan report detailing horrific human rights violations committed by soldiers in South Sudan, Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, said:

    “The report’s findings of yet more acts of shocking brutality, including men being castrated, women gang raped, children forced to watch their mothers being raped and boys forced to rape their family members, should jolt the world into speedy action to address the horrific human rights violations that have continued unabated for four years of conflict in South Sudan,

    “They demonstrate the critical need to establish the Hybrid Court for South Sudan and to renew the UN Commission on Human Rights’ mandate, which is due to expire in March. The human rights catastrophe in South Sudan must remain firmly on the world’s radar if a solution is to be found.”

    The report is a culmination of months of research by UN investigators into gross human rights violations and abuses in South Sudan.

    February 22, 2018
    Amnesty International publishes State of the World’s Human Rights report for 2017 to 2018 “Last year our world was immersed in crises, with prominent leaders offering us a nightmarish vision of a society blinded by hatred and fear. This emboldened those who promote bigotry, but it inspired far more people to campaign for a more hopeful future,” says Salil Shetty, head of Amnesty International

    The world is reaping the terrifying consequences of hate-filled rhetoric that threatens to normalize massive discrimination against marginalized groups, Amnesty International warned today as it launched its annual assessment of human rights.

    Nevertheless, the organization found that a growing movement of both first-time and seasoned activists campaigning for social justice provides real hope of reversing the slide towards oppression.

    The report, The State of the World’s Human Rights, covers 159 countries and delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights in the world today.

    February 13, 2018

    Commenting on reports that James Gatdet Dak, the former spokesman of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – In Opposition (SPLM-IO), has been sentenced to death for treason, Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, said:

    “Gatdet’s sentence is completely unacceptable and must be quashed immediately. The death penalty is an abhorrent punishment and should never be used in any circumstances.

    “Gatdet received his death sentence at a time when he had had no legal representation for more than a month. In any case, the death penalty has no place in the modern era. Instead of sentencing people to death, the South Sudanese government should immediately establish an official moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing this cruel and inhuman penalty, as have 105 other countries around the globe.”

    February 02, 2018

    Responding to news that the US government has imposed an arms embargo on South Sudan, now in its fifth year of an armed conflict that has led to widespread abuses and relentless suffering, Amnesty International USA’s Africa Advocacy Director Adotei Akwei said:

    “This long overdue announcement by the Trump administration must spur the UN Security Council to take greater action to prevent further killings of civilians and other gross human rights violations in South Sudan by imposing a comprehensive arms embargo to cut off the flow of weapons to the country.

    “Civilians who have suffered ethnically motivated attacks, mass rape and forced displacement over the past five years deserve the support of the international community, which must do everything in its power to bring stability to the world’s youngest country.”

    Despite the signing of a ceasefire agreement on 21 December 2017 by South Sudan’s warring parties, there has been no let-up in fighting which is likely to escalate during the current dry season – unless coordinated and sustained international action is taken.

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