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CSO And The Youth Coalition Outraged By Forced Closure By National Security Service (NSS) Of Youth Debriefing On The HLRF.

CSO and the Youth Coalition Outraged by forced closure by National Security Service (NSS) of Youth Debriefing on the HLRF.

22 February 2018, Juba – Members of the Youth Coalition on the High-Level
Revitalization Forum (HLRF) and Civil Society Forum are outraged and disheartened by
the action of National Security Service personnel, who interfered with and closed a
meeting to debrief the youth on the HLRF phase II at the Women Union on Wednesday,
February 21, 2018.
About 70 youth representatives from different organizations gathered for the debriefing on
outcomes of the second phase of the HLRF. Speakers in the event included an official youth
representative at the HLRF. However, half way through the event, two individuals who
identified themselves as NSS personnel stormed the venue of the event and ordered the
organizers to immediately end the program. The reason they have given is that the event
had not been approved by NSS. The youth complied and cancelled the event.
The Youth Coalition deplores this interference and restrictions on citizens’ fundamental
freedoms and liberty. Any peaceful meeting of the youth on the HLRF is never a threat to
national security of the Republic of South Sudan.
The action of these two personnel directly contravened Article 15(1) of the Agreement on
Cessation of Hostilities, Protection of Civilians and Humanitarian Access, signed between
the Transitional Government of National Unity and opposition political groups in Addis
Ababa on December 21, 2017. The Agreement calls on the parties to encourage civil society
to support and promote this Agreement.
The practice that citizen groups need to get prior permission from NSS before holding
meetings such as held by the youth contravenes the constitution. Specifically, it conflicts
with, Article 25(1) on citizens’ freedom of peaceful assembly in the Transitional
Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, 2011 (as amended).
The Civil Society Forum urges the NSS to stop the encroachment on such civic spaces
seeking to constructively contribute in the efforts to bring peace to South Sudan. We call on
all authorities concerned to cooperate with and support citizens’ engagement in the peace
process, particularly the youth and women, in their contributions to the HLRF.

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