Statement on freedom of expression by the European Union in South Sudan
By EU Delegation, Embassies of France, Germany, and the Netherlands, Office of the Swedish Embassy in Juba)
The European Union has expressed in several occasions its readiness to deepen its partnership with South Sudan, provided reforms are undertaken and the necessary space for civil society is guaranteed.
The European Union has therefore witnessed with the utmost attention last week Mobil roundabout demonstration and has been very concerned by the unnecessary and disproportionate force utilised to supress the expression of peaceful protestors. The subsequent arrests raised further concerns about the constitutional rights of South Sudanese citizens to express peacefully and publicly their discontent. Their swift relief is commendable and Team Europe assumes that exercising their constitutional right will have no consequences for their safety.
More broadly, in supporting the implementation of the Peace Agreement the European Union is stressing the imperative to guarantee for every citizen the right to the freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly. This entails allowing all kind of political expressions in the country, including peaceful demonstrations, with the view to assure, inter alia, the success of the permanent Constitution-making that shall be led and owned by the people of South Sudan.