FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
UNMISS’ handing over suspects to authorities that will torture and violate their rights is very wrong
Pretoria, (27 January 2018)- Peacekeepers with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) apprehended individuals allegedly involved in the abduction and killing of three people in Juba on 26th January 2018.UNMISS handed over the suspects to the South Sudan National Police Service. SSHRO is shocked and deeply troubled that UNMISS would, without proper safeguards, hand over suspects to the South Sudan Police Service, an institution that is outmoded, dysfunctional, ineffective, lacking independence and famous for torturing suspects hence violating the basic human rights of detainees.
While UNMISS cannot allow Protection of Civilian Sites (PoCs) to be turned into criminal hideouts, handing over suspected criminals to a brutal entity is a dereliction of UNMISS’ mandate to protect civilians from physical harms.This incident establishes a disturbing precedent. In trying to appease the Government of South Sudan, UNMISS has caved in to and further encouraged the government’s policy of sustained assaults, harassment, of acts of intimidation and reprisal against the UN system in the country. In doing so, UNMISS has brought on itself a serious reputational cost. This will further undermine public trust in UNMISS’ ability to carry out its mandate without fear or favour.
SSHRO calls on the leadership of UNMISS to urgently inform the public of safeguards it has in place to ensure that the rights and freedoms of the suspects are not violated while in government custody. In the absence of any such safeguards, SSHRO calls upon the leadership of UNMISS to take immediate corrective measures.
South Sudan Human Rights Observatory (SSHRO) is a network of South Sudanese and non-South Sudanese volunteers from different backgrounds and with different expertise who are committed to documenting and disseminating reliable information about human rights violations in South Sudan.