Jonglei gov’t dismisses Yar Ayuen harassment claims

John Samuel Manyuon, Jonglei state Minister of Information and Communication (photo: Chol Makol Riak)

By Chol Makol Riak

Jonglei state government on Tuesday issued a statement dismissing the harassment of Ms. Yar Ayuen calling it a propaganda and misinformation.

Early this month, Ms. Yar reported on her social media that she had been harassed, striped off and her clothes were burnt by operation force in Bor town.

However, details from authorities show that Ms. Yar Ayuen Mabior was stopped by the police authorities and asked to return to her house and dress decently.

John Samuel Manyuon, minister for information in Jonglei state said the information circulating on the social media is fault and misinforming the public.

“On behalf of the government of Jonglei State I would like to respond to the propaganda and misinformation she circulated on the social media alleging harassment, striping off and burning clothes of Mrs. Yar Ayuen Mabior by the Police. This is not true as being circulated on the social media and other media outlets,” John said.

He added Ms. Yar left her place for work in the morning dressed indecently and that she was stopped by the police and asked to return home to dress decently.

“The decent and indecent dressing code comes about when the communities of Jonglei, particularly Greater Bor sat as a community to re-evaluate their traditions, culture and norms. They came to resolve that they should promote, protect and uphold their traditions, culture and norms. By doing so, they agreed that neither a female nor male, should wear cracked indecent clothes that expose some of their most essential parts. Anyone doing so will be asked to always return home and change decently and give the indecent clothes to the law enforcement without the use of force” he added.

However, John added that the government of Jonglei state was involved and seconded the call from Greater Bor community to promote, protect and uphold their traditions, cultures and norms.

“As stipulated in the South Sudan Transitional Constitution 2011 as Amended, Part Two, bill of Rights, article 33. Right of ethnic and culture to freely enjoy and develop their particular cultures, members of such communities shall have the right to practice their belief, use their languages observe their children within context of their respective cultures and customs in accordance with this constitution and the law,” he stressed.

Meanwhile on her social media video seen by No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper Ms. Yar Ayuen Mabior said that she was convinced by the elders to drop the case and be made by community elders.

“What I would like to say is that I have agreed to drop the case but not because I was not harassed but I agreed because of community elders, I have been harassed and abused, I was put in custody from 2:00pm to 5:00pm, in our community I have no much to have cases with Gen. Ajak Ayuen, he is not of my age he is a General in an army and elder to me,” Yar said in her video.

She added that she was forced to change her clothes and burn them.

Maj. Majak Daniel Tuor, a police spokesperson in Jonglei state confirmed that Ms. Yar has been rearrested and investigation was underway.

“Yes, she was rearrested yesterday (Monday) and released in less than 24 hours on police bond, the reason for her re-arrest was on charge of defamation on the officer in charge of operation of the criminal gangs in the town, her claims that she was harassed is a false information and also abuse the operation commander,” Maj. Majak said.

Majak stressed that the investigations are underway adding that soon the case will be forwarded to the court.

For his part activist, Edmond Yakani, Executive director of community empowerment for progress organization condemned the act against Yar.

“First of all, I condemn the act against her in the sense that People who have power should not use their powers (public office authorities) want to use it so censoring people’s social lives is something unacceptable that’s one thing I want to say, secondly if you talk about defamation it is related to something that is not true and level against you” Yakani said.

He added that the lady has been turned from a position of victim to a perpetrator adding that she has be harassed.

“She is a victim that has been turned from a position of a victim to a perpetrator and this is a completely abuse of the public power/office, so my appeal that I would like to make is that we need to see her immediately released without any precondition” he added.

Yakani said “people that are abusing the authorities should apologize, and my call, I would like to urge the IGP to constitute a quick committee to investigate this incident should be free from facing any consequences of legal proceeding because applying for legal proceeding without investigation to confirm the facts by herself is a denial of justice”.

He said that there is no specific law that talks about the dressing code in South Sudan.

“Streets have nothing to do with code of conduct, what is there is that you only use code of conduct of that particular public space street has nothing to do with public code of conduct in the law of South Sudan for addressing dressing” he stated.

“And that is why parliament we have code of conduct and dressing code but not on the street, and inside the parliament it is not a criminal act it is only the speaker that will tell you to get out and change your dress but speaker will not take you to follow any legal procedures”. 

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