SSHURSA condemns attempted assassination on the life of the Alliance’s leader Deng Athuai, calls for investiagtions and more protection of human rights defenders in South Sudan
August 2, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — The South Sudan Human Rights Society For Advocacy (SSHURSA) condemns in strongest terms possible the attempted assassination on the life of Mr. Deng Athuai, the leader of the South Sudan Civil Society Alliance who was shot at, on 1 August 2014 in South Sudanese capital, Juba.
Mr. Athuai was attacked by an unknown gunman who ambushed him near his office after work. The assailant fired at him at a close range, however, missed Athuai at his first shot before the armed activists chairman fired back in self-defense.
“I was going to my office to pick up my car but one gunman was hiding waiting for me. As I approached and opened the door and wanted to drive off but this man fired the first bullet that missed me. I then stopped the car and started running to seek shelter then i returned the fire because I was also armed with a pisto”l. Athuai said.
This is the second time that the life of the Alliance’s leader was put at death point. SSHURSA condemns such a cowardice act as retrogressive and a disturbing reminder of oppression and injustices under the olden days of the successive military regimes of Sudan.
“Though I was shocked and sad when somebody called and informed me about this fateful event on the life of my colleague Deng Athuai, but I was not surprised because I know that the state has been looking for any available opportunity to kill any outspoken civil society leader or human rights defender in South Sudan. So Deng Athuai was one of the first victims of such a darkest plan ’’ Stated Biel Boutros Biel, the Executive Director of SSHURSA and former Secretary General and Spokesperson of the Alliance who fled to exile since December 2013 and now lives in South Africa.
“Sincerely, one would expect such an act from a regime that does not tolerate divergent views even those constructive ones meant to improve its poor human rights records”. Biel added.
Although the activists called for justice on numerous right violations, very little has been accorded. Biel believes that like the earlier cases, the government cannot be trusted to intervene in restoring justice.
“The attempted assassination on the life of my colleague Deng Athuai can honestly be described in few words that ‘the Juba regime has done it again’. No one should believe that the government this time will ever bring any of its agents to justice.” Biel said.
“That was how they killed our colleague Isaiah Abraham and to date, no one has been held accountable despite the sanctimonious promises to bring the proclaimed arrested suspects to book; nothing” Biel continued.
Despite continued failures by the government of South Sudan to bring human rights perpetrators to justice, SSHURSA sees it is the state’s responsibility to curb abuses and therefore still calls on the government to immediately investigate the incident on the life of the Alliance’s leader and brings the real suspects to justice.
SSHURSA appeals to South Sudanese leader, Salva Kiir, to directly intervene in ensuring the protection of the civil society and human rights defenders in South Sudan.
SSHURSA also calls upon the South Sudan Human Rights Commission, the international community especially the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States of America and other human rights groups to stand in solidarity with the human rights defenders in South Sudan and consistently push on the government to genuinely investigate such shocking incidents on the lives of the few voices who risk speaking out on human rights abuses.
In addition, SSHURSA calls on all South Sudanese civil society leaders and human rights defenders wherever they are, to continue doing the good work and remain undeterred by such attempts on their lives. SSHURSA wishes the Alliance’s leader Mr. Deng Athuai a quick recovery to continue with the good work.