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Thursday, Jul 31st, 2014

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Rights Group Protests the Invitation of South Sudan President to the United States, Calls for Demonstration

Washington, DC, July 30, 2014 (SSNA) -- South Sudanese rights agency, the Alliance for South Sudanese in Diaspora (ASSD), has announced its objection against the invitation of South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir Mayayrdiit, by the United States President Barack Obama to attend the 2014 US-Africa Leaders Submit scheduled to take place on August 6.

The conference comes after more than seven months of fighting in South Sudan.

The Alliance for South Sudanese in Diaspora is deeply troubled by the invitation of the leader of the war-torn nation, according to the group’s press statement obtained by the South Sudan News Agency.

"ASSD Protest[s] the South Sudanese President Salva Kiir’s visit to the U.S. and Call on South Sudanese-Americans to Participate in Peaceful Demonstration in Washington, DC and across America”, the Alliance declared.

The block questions the decency behind the invitation and stated that it will join other South Sudanese civil society agencies to demonstrate against Kiir, adding that the South Sudanese leader has committed serious crimes and that he does not deserve to be invited by the human rights champion, the United States.

"The Alliance for South Sudanese in Diaspora (ASSD) protest[s] the invitation of the South Sudanese President Salva Kiir to the United States of America given the atrocities committed and human sufferings endured by innocent South Sudanese citizens under his administration; ASSD will be joining other South Sudanese civil society organizations in the upcoming Peaceful Demonstration scheduled for Wednesday, August 6, 2014 in Washington, DC”, the ASSD said in its official statement.

The three-day summit will focus on strengthening ties between the United States and the African nations.

“Discussions will center on how to encourage progress in key areas that Africans define as critical for the future of the continent: expanding trade and investment ties, engaging young African leaders, promoting inclusive sustainable development, expanding cooperation on peace and security, and gaining a better future for Africa’s next generation”, The White House Says on its website.

The forum will be attended by more than forty five (45) African leaders, official documents have shown.

The US-based rights group also calls on other human rights organizations to express their discontent against Kiir’s leadership. The ASSD further stated that survivors of Kiir’s December 2013 Juba massacre will join the planned demonstration.

The visit will be Kiir’s first trip to the US since the war broke out in Juba late last year.

SSHURSA condemns youth arrest, calls for their immediate release, and appeals for a stricter torture prevention legislation

PRESS RELEASE: For immediate release; 29 July 2014

July 29, 2014 (SSNA) -- The South Sudan Human Rights Society For Advocacy (SSHURSA) condemns in strongest terms possible as ‘barbaric’ the arrest of the youth by the security and state officials in South Sudan’s Northern Bahr El Ghazal state.

According to the information SSHURSA has received, a number of youth members have been arrested, held and are being tortured by security agents since 26 July 2014. Preliminary allegations have been rumoured and asserted that the security are linking the youth with South Sudan’s rebels in Northern Bahr El Ghazal under the recently defected army General Dau Aturjong.

Torture is prohibited under national laws and international human rights law. The right to freedom from torture is a non-derogable right which no state government or its agents acting under whatever directive cannot temper with under any circumstances. By arresting and torturing the youth, the state agents are implicated in very serious allegations and are therefore, intentionally in direct attack of the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan 2011(TCSS 2011) which is the supreme law of South Sudan. The acts of such officals are barbaric and they are also in complete defiance of South Sudan’s international human rights obligations. South Sudan is a member of United Nations (UN) and the African Union ( AU) and it must respect its obligations as a member of the international community and should ensure that its agents as a state do not contravene internationally non-derogable and protected principle such as the right to freedom from torture as provided for under the TCSS 2011 and article 4 of the UN Convention Against Torture and other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

The Republic of South Sudan being a member of the UN and AU whose human rights instruments though it has not yet ratified, but must still bind it under the principles of the international customary law. Article 18 of the TCSS 2011 provides for freedom from torture and it states;

No person shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment

While article 19 of the TCSS 2011 provides for the right to fair trial and states clearly the rights of the accused persons; including the right to be considered not guilty until the allegation(s) are proved as true or discarded by a court of law, the right to be immediately and clearly informed of the reasons of the arrest, the right to be allowed contacts with relatives and receive legal advice and above all, the right to be produced before the court of law for trial within a period not exceeding 24 hours. All these rights have been violated by the state in the case of these youth members arrested.

In a democratic society, arrests in majority of cases can only be effected through an arrest warrant issued by a competent court of law.

Articles 24 and 25 of the TCSS 2011 respectively provide for the rights to the freedom of expression, assembly and association.

The youth members have their constitutional rights to associate and speak out their views on how they perceive the government they have entrusted with management of their public affairs as citizens of the state and as of South Sudan, whether that government be at state or national level. It is one of the values of democratic society to associate and speak out on public issues that matter in the lives of the citizens and people’s government cannot use its agents to arrest and torture those holding contrary views. Harmless divergent views are ingredients for the growth of democracy which South Sudanese state must be humble to accept. SSHURSA calls upon the government of Northern Bahr El Ghazal state to immediately unconditionally ensure that the arrested youth members are released and hold the perpetrators responsible for allegedly torturing the youth which is a violation of a supreme freedom that cannot be tempered with as it protects the sacredness of human dignity.

SSHURSA calls upon the office of the Caretaker governor to intervene immediately and ensure that the youth members are accorded contacts with the families, seek medical attention and released without any condition or produced them before the court of law if the state has any reasonable to believe of their being in suspicion of having committed any crime. Equally, those state agents who tortured the youth must be held accountable so that impunity does not continue being seen sponsored by the state. SSHURSA also calls upon the South Sudan’s National Legislative Assembly(SSNLA) to immediately enact a legislation specifically prescribig the severe punishment and holding of those found responsible in violation of the right to freedom from torture as has been rampant among the security and other state agents. The SSNLA should immediately ensure that South Sudan ratifies the UN Convention Against Torture and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights.

For more on this press release, contacts SSHURSA through:

1. Executive Director: Cell: +27749707905, Pretoria, South Africa
2. Chairperson of the Board of Directors: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; Cell: +211915364531, South Sudan

SSHURSA is an incorporated non-political and non-profit -making national human rights organization, founded by South Sudanese lawyers and Law Students on 5th June 2007 at the Law Development Centre (LDC), Makerere, Kampala, Uganda. In South Sudan, its operations started since 2009 with its headquarters in Juba and co-ordination offices in other states. Its vision: a democratic and human rights abiding South Sudan and the mission: monitoring, documenting and publishing human rights status in the country and training also the general public on human rights, constitution, rule of Law and international humanitarian law, all geared towards creating an informed, responsible, justice and good governance oriented South Sudan. Website: www.sshursa.org

Ethiopian Church Names South Sudanese ‘Peace Ambassador’

By Anteneh Yilma

Addis Ababa, July 28, 2014 (SSNA) -- As South Sudan entered crisis in December 2013, Ethiopia as a sisterly Country received more than 100,000 refugees from South Sudan. Some refugees are believed to move toward Uganda and Kenya while similar numbers of refugees are expected to settle in Sudan. Gatwech Koak Nyuon, a young man from South Sudan launched his campaigns to end 8 months conflict in his Country through ‘power of prayer’, a campaign which has been publicly supported by Christians communities around the World.

In three days conference organized by Youth of Lebu Kale Hiywot Church in Addis Ababa, Gatwech strongly urged the Christian Communities around the World to pray for South Sudan. He did not blame the warring parties but term the crisis as leadership struggle and it should simply be solved through dialogue and nonviolence. He added that thousands of deceased who lost their lives in the conflict will never be rose again. Meanwhile; the continuation of war between warring parties will swipe the productive ages and hinder the development in South Sudan. Both warring parties are due to kick-off next round of talk on July 30th, 2014. So far, IGAD had given 60 days to cease the fighting but both parties trade an accusation on battle of Nasir last weeks.

In a very emotional, provoking, charismatic speech attended by more than 200 youth, he hotly elaborated that “Christian Communities must bring this issue to an end through the power of prayer”. The audiences were so applause!! A 28 years old young man stood tall with purple suit was alone in the conference; I found him friendly and compassionate. Gatwech is the first South Sudanese to visit Lebu Kale Hiywot Church for the first time in history since its establishment in 1920s.

Ethiopian Kale Hiywot (Word of Life) Church (KHC) is the largest evangelical denomination in Ethiopia. Started in the early 1920s by pioneering Serving In Mission, formerly, Sudan Interior Mission, (SIM) missionaries, Kale Hiywot Church thrived in the South Central and South Western corners of the country during the five-year Italian occupation in the 1930s (Wikipedia).

Some audiences described Gatwech as the best motivational speaker ever. “He is so young; I didn’t expect this campaign to be initiated by him. His words inspired me. God loves him indeed!!” Mindaye Yohannes described.   

Lebu Kale Hiywot Church’s elders received prayer request to continue with it until a change is seen through power of prayer in South Sudan. Currently the overall Ethiopian Kale Hiywot Church has about or more than 7,774 local congregation and estimated 6.7 million members and adherents.

South Sudan problem is our problem as Africans, as children of God and as member of entire Human family. I also urge the Christian Communities to put this very hot issue to their concern either at family level or at church level wherever they reside.

On their parts, the Lebu Kale Hiywot Church conference facilitator congratulated Mr. Gatwech for his roles as a peace maker and forwards the prayer request voluntarily.

Consequently, one of an Evangelist declared him to be an Ambassador for Peace on their prayers. “On behalf of my congregations, I declared Mr. Gatwech to be an Ambassador for Peace and South Sudan will soon recover from the dust”. An Evangelist Teshome.  

Gatwech said that he would not give up. Instead he urged more prayers so that he should extend his visit to other African, European and US Countries for more prayers.

“As I started my campaign in Addis Ababa, this is just the beginning. I need more help from people so that this message should reach out globally and the only way to make this happen should be through prayers”. He calls on willingly people to pray for Ukraine, Syria, Central Africa Republic, Congo, Libya, Somalia etc...  

Gatwech speaks ‘Amharic’ and currently schooling in Mekane Yesus Management and Leadership College, a College administered by Ethiopian Evangelical Mekane Yesus Church in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

He disclosed that he is working on Documentary to be released on YouTube so that people will pray bases on real situation.

The Author is an independent writer on Education and other Human Rights Issues based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He should be reach on: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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