South Sudan is witnessing a “new wave of repression”, global rights group Amnesty International warned Friday, with many activists now in hiding after a string of arrests within the conflict-wracked country.

The world’s newest nation has suffered from continual instability since independence in 2011, with a coalition of civil society groups urging the government to step down, saying they’ve “had sufficient”.

The authorities have taken a troublesome line towards such calls for in the latest weeks, arresting eight activists in addition to detaining three journalists and two staff of a pro-democracy non-profit, in accordance with rights groups.

“We’re witnessing a brand new wave of repression rising in South Sudan concentrating on the rights to freedom of expression, association, and peaceable meeting,” mentioned Deprose Muchena, Amnesty Worldwide’s regional director for East and Southern Africa.

The clampdown adopted a declaration final month by the individuals’  Coalition for Civil Action (PCCA) calling for a peaceable public rebellion.

The PCCA had urged the general public to affix its protest on Monday within the capital Juba however the metropolis fell silent because the authorities branded the demonstration “unlawful” and deployed heavily-armed safety forces to watch the streets for any signal of opposition.

“Peaceable protests should be facilitated fairly than cracked down upon or prevented with arrests, harassment, heavy safety deployment, or other punitive measures,” Muchena mentioned in a press release.

The rights group noted that many activists had confronted harassment because of the aborted demonstration, “with some suspecting they had been being surveilled by safety forces”.

The authorities have additionally shut down a radio station and a supposed tank in reference to the protests.

‘Undisguised hostility’

Media rights group Reporters Without Borders, identified by its French acronym RSF, on Friday condemned the closure of the radio station and referred to it as  “a direct finish to the harassment of South Sudanese reporters”.

“The undisguised hostility of the authorities in the direction of the media highlights how difficult it’s for journalists to cover politics in South Sudan, the place at the least ten have been killed since 2014,” mentioned Arnaud Froger, the pinnacle of RSF’s Africa desk.

South Sudan is ranked 139th out of 180 international locations in RSF’s 2021 World Press Freedom Index.

In a press release launched on Friday, the United States, the European Union, Britain and Norway urged the South Sudan authorities to guard “the rights of residents… to specific their views in a peaceable method, without worry of arrest”.

Since reaching independence from Sudan in 2011, the younger nation has been within the throes of a continual financial and political disaster and is struggling to recuperate from the aftermath of five-year civil warfare that left almost 400,000 folks lifeless.

Though a 2018 ceasefire and the power-sharing deal between President Salva Kiir and his deputy Riek Machar nonetheless largely holds, it’s being sorely examined, with little progress made in fulfilling the phrases of the peace course.

The PCCA — a broad-based coalition of activists, lecturers, attorneys, and former authorities officers — has described the present regime as “a bankrupt political system that has to develop into so harmful and has subjected our folks to immense struggling.”


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