Annual Report: South Sudan 2013

May 23, 2013

Annual Report: South Sudan 2013

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  • On 14 May, Ayak Dhieu Apar, a radio presenter in Rumbek, Lakes State, was arrested and held without charge for five days by the police for hosting a talk show asking “how could the public respect police?” on a state-owned radio station. Callers reportedly criticized the police for poor service delivery and disregard for the rule of law. Ayak Dhieu Apar was released on bail, despite not being charged with an offence, and police threatened to take her to court for alleged “defamation and tarnishing the image of the police”. In early June, Major-General Saed Abdulatif Chawul Lom, Police Commissioner for Lakes State and believed to be behind the arrest of Ayak Dhieu Apar, was removed from his post, reportedly due to his role in her arrest and detention.
  • On 30 May, Bonifacio Taban Kuich, a freelance journalist in Bentiu, Unity State, was arrested by the SPLA and detained in military barracks for six hours for writing an article in the online newspaper Sudan Tribune. He also reportedly received death threats from government officials. The article stated that over 500 women whose husbands had been members of the SPLA and had died in combat, had not received the full amount of compensation that they were entitled to from the government.

Lack of accountability

An investigation established in August 2011 into allegations against the former Director of Public Security and Criminal Investigations remained ongoing at the end of the year. The investigation was examining torture, corruption, the creation of illegal detention centres, and the enforced disappearance of John Louis Silvino, an architect at the Ministry of Housing who was last seen on 25 March 2011.

Violations perpetrated by the SPLA and the SSPS Auxiliary Force during the Jonglei state-wide civilian disarmament campaign Operation Restore Peace, launched in March, remained largely unaddressed by the government. These included extrajudicial executions; beating of men, women and children; simulated drowning; sexual violence against women; and looting in towns and villages. Seven arrests directly related to alleged violations during the civilian disarmament campaign were recorded. Of these seven, two soldiers were prosecuted by the end of the year.

Investigations into the abduction and ill-treatment of two civil society activists from the South Sudan Civil Society Alliance remained incomplete.

  • On 4 July, Deng Athuai Mawiir, chairperson of the Alliance, was kidnapped from his hotel in Juba. He was reportedly held and beaten for three days and interrogated about his work on corruption issues in South Sudan.
  • On 22 October, Ring Bulabuk was kidnapped and left in an abandoned graveyard in Juba. Prior to the abduction, he had received threats to stop working on a legal suit against an army general about land-grabbing in Juba.

Other instances of the lack of accountability by security forces were reported during the year.

  • On 9 December, security forces in Wau, Western Bahr El Ghazal State, shot and killed eight and wounded 20 people peacefully demonstrating about the death of a youth activist and the government's decision to move the headquarters of Wau County to Bagari. The Governor announced an immediate investigation but no investigation is known to have been carried out. Members of the security forces involved in the unlawful shootings were not brought to justice while dozens of alleged government opponents, including members of the Legislative Assembly, were detained.

Torture and other ill-treatment

Security forces including the SPLA, National Security Service (NSS) and SSPS harassed, arrested, tortured or otherwise ill-treated people, including UN and NGO staff. Attacks against East African workers in South Sudan also increased.