In commemoration of the 2020 International Human Rights Defenders day, South
Sudan Human Rights Defenders honor the brave men and women human rights
defenders in South Sudan.
Human Rights Defenders have been championing peace and stability among all humans
of all walks in South Sudan. They have vigorously and wholeheartedly defended the
rights of everybody in South Sudan.
Lawyers, and judges have justly fought and brought justice without fear or favor to those
who needed it through 2020. They have ensured appropriate law is applied to every
South Sudanese in every corner of the country.
Journalists, teachers as well as activist despite of the pandemic, have managed to
ethically inform, aware and impact knowledge to every citizen.
Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRD’s) as seen since the peace negotiation days for
the revitalized peace agreement of 2019, have been the forefront in ensuring the
marginalized and under privileged groups are represented. Today the little peace we are
celebrating is through some of the few women that used all their energies to see a
positive change in the way South Sudanese look at things from a different angle.
Despite all these good efforts, Human Rights Defenders are putting, they have faced a
number of challenges and hindrances while discharging their good humane deeds.
Human Rights Defenders have been killed for their work. In July alone, in a space of
two weeks, a journalist was killed while traveling in Tonj. A local public prosecutor, was
also murdered in cold blood at his home.
Human Rights Defenders have been arbitrary arrested, tortured, illegally detained and
intimidated. A case of a journalist sentenced to imprisonment for allegedly being found
guilty of defaming a sitting National Minister in his writings made so much news in
September. A number of media houses have been directly attacked. 2 of our daily local
newspapers were victimized for doing their work by either being censored or totally shut
down. In the months of March through July. Activists got illegally detained, where on
June 16th saw one summoned and detained at the National Security Service detention
center for requesting for accountability in a campaign project.
Among many other forms of attacks on Human Rights Defenders, we the secretariat of
South Sudan Human Rights Defenders Network call upon all responsible actors to
consider the below on this day 9th December 2020.
South Sudan Human Right Defenders Network calls upon National Security Service
officers to cease harassing by all means, human rights defenders in the country, but to
dialogue amicably and seek a better resolution.
Urges the executive wing of the government to draft and enact policies that will help in
the protection and promotion of human rights defenders in the country.
Pleads with the presidency to issue a Christmas pardon to some of the HRD, activists,
and journalists currently in different detention centers. Specifically Mr. Ochaya
Jackson, and Mr. Zacharia Makuach Marol. And the state governors to do the same
with those detained in the states.
Appeals to the judiciary to ensure independent and effective investigations into attacks
against HRDs, most especially those whose cases are still pending in the courts.
South Sudan Human Right Defenders Network calls on all human rights defenders
to diligently, ethically and purposely devote their energies towards ensuring South
Sudan becomes a human rights champion nation with no one left behind irrespective of
their status quo.