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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid