News / Africa

Rights Groups Want Justice for Slain Wau Protesters

Western Bahr el Ghazal, South SudanWestern Bahr el Ghazal, South Sudan
x
Western Bahr el Ghazal, South Sudan
Western Bahr el Ghazal, South Sudan
Jill CraigJohn Tanza
— Leading human rights groups on Friday called on South Sudanese authorities to open a full probe into the deaths in December of protesters in the city of Wau, in Western Bahr el Ghazal, who were shot by security forces.

“Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International would like authorities to ensure a full, effective and impartial investigation that would lead to the prosecution of those responsible for these killings,” Skye Wheeler, a Human Rights Watch researcher who focuses on South Sudan, said.

She called the December 9 protest in Wau "peaceful" and asserted that it turned deadly when security forces opened fire on demonstrators.

Six people died on the spot and two more died later in hospital. The shootings have never been investigated.

That protest came a day after two youths who were part of a group that was barricading the road into Wau were shot and killed by the security forces. The youths had blocked off the roadway to protest a decision taken by state officials two months earlier to move county administrative offices from Wau to nearby Baggari.

Wheeler said some communities felt the decision to relocate the county offices was made without consulting them.

Amnesty International visited Wau and issued a report on the violence in February.

Human Rights Watch visited the city in February and in May. During the second visit, the rights group said state Governor Rizig Zakaria Hassan told them that police shot the December 9 protesters "while defending the nearby South Sudan Bank against 'rioters.'”

But Wheeler said most of the protesters seen in video footage of the shooting appear to be unarmed, with many carrying tree branches and signs.

“Those who were present at the protest say that the security forces shot into the protest as soon as they saw them,” she said.

“There doesn’t seem to have been any attempt to minimize death or injury, and there were no warnings, as far as we can tell, that the security forces were going to use their firearms.”

Wheeler said that many families of those injured and killed in Wau in December are afraid to bring cases to court or complain to the police.

“No investigation has been done,” the wife of one of the men who was killed was quoted as saying in the report by the two rights groups.

“If we open our mouths, that same day I will be put in jail and then my children will suffer more.”

According to Samuel Dhong, Secretary General for the South Sudan Law Society, South Sudan’s legal system does not have the capacity to handle such cases.
  
“That’s why in some communities, they take things into their own hands because the judiciary is not forthcoming to restore the damage that has been caused or bring the perpetrators to book,” he said.

“It’s a big issue that the judiciary in South Sudan needs to work hard to make sure that justice is administered and delivered.”

Western Bahr el Ghazal Minister of Information Derik Alfred had no comment on the matter when he was contacted by VOA News.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid