EU voices concerns over suppression of peaceful protests in South Sudan

The European Union is concerned about the force used to stop the recent peaceful demonstrations in Juba, South Sudan.

On 30 March, people – mainly youth took the streets to protest against a fatal accident at Mobil roundabout in Juba which resulted in the death of a popular local singer by stage name Trisha Cee and a boda-boda rider who was carrying. They were knocked and ran over by a water tanker. 

Outraged by the accident, the protestors were advocating for justice to families of road accident victims, reforms in traffic police and improvement in health service. Scores of protestors including activists David Kolok, Executive Director of Foundation for Democracy, Accountability and Governance (FoDAG) and Wani Michael, Executive Director of OKAY Africa were arrested by police. 

“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,” a statement on freedom of expression by the EU, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Office of the Swedish Embassy in Juba issued on 12 April says.

EU stated that ‘the subsequent arrests raised further concerns about the constitutional rights of South Sudanese citizens to express peacefully and publicly their discontent.”

It stressed the need to guarantee right to freedom of expression to every citizen in the country.

“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,” the statement reads.