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Outrageous Rights groups urge Kiir not to sign NSS bill

By Bosco Bush


Rights Groups have condemned the passing of the National Security Service Act 2014 (Amendment) Bill 2024, without scraping Articles, 54 and 55, urging President Salva Kiir not to sign it into law. 

Mr. Ter Manyang, Executive Director for the Center for Peace and Advocacy (CPA) said, the NSS Bill passed by the Members of Parliament is disturbing and worrying the South Sudanese citizens.

“This Bill that was passed yesterday by our MPs is really disturbing and worrying,” he said.

“As the Center for Peace and Advocacy, we condemn this in the strongest term possible. Because it’s going to jeopardize the Rights to Freedom of Expression, Assembly and Movement among the South Sudanese citizens,” Manyang added.

On Wednesday, July 3, 2024, the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) passed the National Security Act 2014 (amendment) Bill 2024 maintaining articles that grant arrest without warrant.

This came amid heated debate and contrasting views among lawmakers.

The most contentious sections were 54 and 55, which granted the National Security Service (NSS) unfettered and autonomous authority to detain suspects without a warrant of arrest.

Manyang explained that the NSS doesn’t have the power to arrest or detain suspects by law. But rather, to gather and analyze data and submit it to the relevant authorities for enforcement.

“If you do comparative analysis in the East African Region, the work of the National Security Intelligent is to collect information, analyze and forward them to the relevant authorities. Which is not the case within the country,” Manyang explained.

He further urged President Salva Kiir not to assent the Bill into Law citing dangerous implications of the Bill even to the President himself.

“The CPA strongly urges President Salva Kiir not to sign the National Security Service Act of 2024, as it would be highly detrimental to the citizens, including the President himself as the head of state,” he added.

Meanwhile, Laetitia Bader, deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch criticize the parliament for passing legislation that compromises justice and human rights against citizens.

“This was an opportunity to promote and enhance justice and human rights, but instead, parliament chose to strengthen a security service that routinely abuses rights with impunity,” she stated.

She called on Kiir to reject the Bill and send it back to parliament where the pressing sections should be removed to meet international standards.

“President Kiir should reject the broad powers of arrest and detention and send the law back to parliament so they can bring it in line with the constitution and international human rights standards,” Bader said.

The bill now awaits President Kiir’s signature. If Kiir neither signs nor returns the bill to parliament within 30 days, it will automatically become law.

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