Gov’t told to grant freedom of expression

By: Manyuon Mayen Manyuon

A civil society activist has advised the government to allow citizens to freely express their views on the country’s political and social issues without any intimidation.

Enshrined in the South Sudan Constitution, freedom of speech and expression is one of the fundamental human rights.

Reacting to the release of activist Dr. Peter Biar Ajak who was arrested for allegedly criticizing the government, Rajab Mohandis said he welcomed the gesture but it was high time that the freedom of expression and speech be fully exercised in the Country.

“That they should listen to the voices of the citizens and incorporate these voices into their decisions and actions so that their actions help to respond to the needs of the people,” he concluded.

“So we feel that there should be room for citizens to speak out and especially those who are engaging and contributing to this country’s peace process and reform,” he said.

“Using your voices and engaging peaceful is a positive way to contribute to this country. Changes and reforms in our country require collective engagement of all citizens and therefore these citizens should matter to the political leaders,” Mohandis told Juba Monitor.

“We feel that charges against Peter Biar Ajak were quite unfair and his detention at first has been really linked to his voices on the issues of the country,” he reflected.  

He stated that they were excited that Peter Biar Ajak, Kerbino Wol Agok and other inmates were released but advised that the government remain cooperative with its citizens on matters of peace.

Activist Peter Biar was arrested in 2018 and was later sentenced to two years for speaking to the foreign media during a standoff between the inmates and security guards at the National Security Detention Centre.

He was later on sentenced to 2 years in prison last year after being accused of inciting a riot between detainees and the security guards at the National Security detention facility.  

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