UN Rights Commission accuses South Sudan of violations ahead of elections


The UN Human Rights Commissionv accused South Sudan’s National Security Service (NSS) of threatening media and civil society and undermining prospects for a democratic transition.

A new report based on the Commission’s independent investigations in 2023 released on Thursday details attacks on journalists and civil society, both within and outside the country.

Journalists have been subjected to surveillance, intimidation, and human rights violations including arbitrary detention, according to the UN report.

“Independent media and a vibrant civil society represent critical voices in developing accountable governance, and the democratic processes required to enable peace and ensure human rights,” said the chair of the commission, Yasmin Sooka.

South Sudan is going through a political transition period after a civil war that wracked the country from 2013 until 2018, when a peace agreement was signed by President Salva Kiir and his rival turned Vice President Riek Machar.
Elections have been scheduled for December 2024.

The report details violations to the human rights of political reporter Woja Emmanuel who in May 2023 announced on social media that he had quit journalism, saying he feared for his life.

The government is yet to comment on these rights violations. The UN Commission is concerned about the intolerance toward critics of the government ahead of the elections.

“South Sudan still lacks an umpire to review and curtail the repression of human rights, and to resolve disputes that may arise through electoral processes,” said Commissioner Carlos Castresana Fernández.