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Human rights activists hail Kiir, Machar for scrapping powers of NSS to arrest

Human Rights Defenders Network a coalition of civil society organizations dealing on human rights violations has welcomed the recent decision of the presidency to scrap the powers of the National Security Service to arrest without warrant.

James Bidal, National Coordinator of South Sudan Human Rights Defenders Network (SSHRDN) said the recent decision to remove powers of arrest from NSS will go a long way in reducing human rights violations.

 “The scrapping of the two sections comes at a time when so many arrests, often arbitrary ones have been made in violation of human rights,” Bidal said in a statement issued in Juba on Monday.

“We, therefore, applaud the President and the First Vice President for this positive step that we believe will reduce human rights violations by the NSS,” it added.

On 21st February, Cabinet Affairs Minister Dr. Martin Elia Lumoro said that President Salva Kiir and his First Deputy, Dr Riek Machar agreed to scrap a controversial law that allows the NSS unlimited powers to arrest people without an arrest warrant.

The National Security Service Act, 2014 which was amended in September 2019 allows security agents virtually unfettered authority to arrest and detain suspects, monitor communications, and search and seize property.

An arrest warrant is a document issued by a judge or magistrate that authorizes the police to take into custody someone accused of committing a crime.

Bidal said the decision came at the time when the country is gearing up for the forthcoming constitution making process and general election slated for December 2024.

He revealed that they have documented human rights violations by the NSS including arbitrary arrests, prolonged detention of political opponents and government critics.

“We look forward to swift amendment of the 2014 NSS Act, and we will continue to advocate for the rule of law in South Sudan as a core tenet of democracy and governance,” Bidal said.

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