Rein in National Security Service, rights group urges South Sudan’s gov’t

National Security Detention Facility in Juba (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

September 17th 2019 (Nyamilepedia)-Amnesty International, a human rights defender, has called on South Sudan’s government to take strong measures against the National Security Service (NSS), to  desist from harassing intimidating and targeting dissidents and those it believes are opposed to the government.

“Amnesty International calls on the South Sudanese government to immediately end harassment, intimidation and targeting of individuals simply for expressing critical views of the government within and beyond South Sudan’s borders. Instead, the government must respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, association and expression,” said Amnesty International on Monday.

In a speech to the UN Human Rights Council in South Sudan on Monday, the human rights group appealed to the government to independently probe into alleged harassment of RCM members and activists.

“The government should independently, thoroughly and effectively investigate all allegations of harassment, intimidation and threats against RCM members.”

Furthermore, Amnesty International urged South Sudan’s authorities to amend the National Security Act 2014 and repeal the 2011 Transitional Constitution that gives the NSS sweeping powers to arrest, torture and detain perceived government critics with impunity.

“In addition, the government should amend the 2014 NSS Act to curb the agency’s unchecked powers that contravene the 2011 Transitional Constitution and reform it in line with international human rights standards,” the statement partly reads.

This is not the first time that the NSS has been accused of conducting a cross-border campaign of harassment and intimidation against critics.

In July, several human rights organizations cried foul at the government after arresting members of the Red Card Movement (RCM) who who were trying to stage non-violent protests against the Salva Kiir administration.

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