Civil coalition calls for freedom of assembly, association

By: Manyuon Mayen Manyuon

Joint civil society organizations, a coalition of five members’ group have called on the political parties and the leadership of the country to prioritize freedom of assembly, association and expression among themselves and its citizens.

The group said that restriction on such freedoms was still disturbing public peace across the country.

The exercise under campaign dubbed #GurushWen was conducted by the Organization for Responsive Governance, in solidarity with Active Citizen South Sudan, Okay Africa Foundation, Christian Agency for Peace and Development and Organization for Nonviolence in partnership with Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) to remind parties on the importance of the citizens to exercise such liberties during pre-transitional period.

Speaking on behalf of the group, Rajab Mohandis, Executive Director at the Organization for Responsive Governance (ORG) said that such freedoms were crucial to promote and consolidate peace in the country.

“We have had of the implementation but we don’t see the political parties jointly moving together as demanded by the agreement,” he said.

According to him, the inflexibility and failure of the political parties in continuously engaging with citizens jointly on the peace process was another setback that couldn’t further the implementation of peace agreement freely.

“These important national objectives cannot be realized without allowing the people to exercise their full constitutional rights as in the name of freedoms of assembly, association and expression,” Mohandis stated.  

“Protecting these freedoms will allow people to interact and dialogue among dialogue among themselves and with political entities,” he added.

The activist said that the coalition was prompted by necessary observation and feedbacks from citizens on complain over restriction of their rights.

The group tasked the political parties to champion such freedoms without failure since the public were complaining of dire public freedoms.

“By citizens having space to safely and peacefully voice their concerns and ideas, current and future conflicts can be resolved without violence as we faced in the past,” Mohandis explained.

He reiterated that such rights will also help the country to move faster in realizing important aspects of the agreement on truth, reconciliation and healing.

“We are aware of the youth groups meetings here in Juba that always go interrupted, closed down and some of them even detained for their rights. They are always victims of lack of freedom,” he said

He revealed that “It is only when citizens are free to express themselves to associate, assembly and discuss the fundamental issues of our country that we can make progress in this country and the implementation of the peace and all other aspects.”  

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