Troika condemns break up of youth meeting in Juba

February 22, 2018 (JUBA) – The Troika members (Norway, the United Kingdom, and United States) on Thursday condemned the breaking up of youth leaders’ meeting in the South Sudan capital, Juba.

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A youth holds the South Sudanese flag as he waits for the start of independence celebrations in the capital, Juba, on 9 July 2011 (AP)

On 21 February, South Sudan national security service agents forced those attending a briefing on the results of the second round of the High-Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) held in Ethiopia, to abandon it.

“This kind of action to intimidate civil society and limit the flow of information surrounding the peace process is unacceptable and counterproductive,” the Troika said in a statement issued Thursday.

The participants were meeting with the Forum’s Youth Representative, an officially recognized stakeholder of the HLRF and signatory cessation of hostilities accord inked on 12 December, 2017.

The Troika, in the statement, reiterated the critical importance of the HLRF parties creating a conducive environment for peacemaking.

The UK, U.S and Norway called on all the parties involved in South Sudan’s conflict to make good on their promises to implement the CoH [Cessation of Hostilities] which includes provisions on protecting the rights of civilians and ensuring the protection of civil society.

It further added, “South Sudan’s people deserve peace. We urge the Government of South Sudan to respect the rights of its citizens and recognize the positive role of civil society groups”.

South Sudan Human Rights Society for Advocacy (SSHURSA) also condemned in “strongest” terms possible the breakup of the youth meeting by the security elements of the South Sudan government.

“The behaviour and acts of the security must be strongly condemned as they violate Articles 24 and 25 of the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan, 2011(TCSS, 2011 as amended), which respectively provide for the rights to freedom of express, association and assembly,” SSHURSA said in a statement issued on Thursday.

“There is no constitutional requirement for the notification of neither the security or the police for any meeting whatsoever except under the kangaroo security laws which were made in complete violation of the Constitution,” it added.

According to the human rights body, youth represent grassroots communities and must be allowed to get relevant information about peace processes to give correct feedback to their constituencies.

“This is in efforts to promote peace and stability in South Sudan,” it said, adding that those involved be probed and held accountable.

The South Sudan conflict has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced over 2 million people since its outbreak in December 2013.