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South Sudan arrests hundreds amid civil unrest

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
March 8th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

South Sudan is the world's newest country, and it is also one of the most troubled. Comprised of ten states, there are active rebellions in nine. The government is responding with crackdowns in which innocent civilians are murdered and arrested in violation of their most basic rights.

JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN (Catholic Online) - Last December, the troubles in Sudan came dramatically to light when uniformed men fired on unarmed protesters killing 10. In the wake of those shootings there followed arrests, sometimes of entire families when government officers could not locate the suspects they sought.

The problem is that the people are often guilty of nothing more than voicing a critical opinion of the government. The United Nations and Amnesty International have documented scores of human rights violations, yet the government continues to deny any wrongdoing.

The stories of abuse are being widely reported in the media. In late February, a member of the United Nations staff in South Sudan was also arrested, accused of involvement in the protest.

Other UN officers have been arrested. Meanwhile the president, Salvas Kiir, has called on all government agencies to permit the UN to conduct its work without interference. It is unclear if he is a party to much of the violence and troubles faced by the people, or if he simply lacks the power to control his governors.

Human Rights Watch says that the national security service is also responsible for sores of rights violations, mostly including the arrest and indefinite detention of people. Several people remain detained without knowledge of the charges against them and without being handed over to the appropriate authorities for processing.

There are several documented cases of agencies that do not legally have the power to arrest making arrests. Human Rights Watch has said this could be because these agencies are unaware they have limited power and are not permitted to detain people.

The reality is these agencies and those with power don't care. There is little regard for individual rights in the country which is the fuel feeding the nine separate rebellions across the new country.

As entire families are swept up in the chaos of corrupt injustice, the nation continues to flounder in humanitarian disaster. Of course, the world is showing little concern, as long as the strategic supplies of oil keep flowing.

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