South Sudan: Overview of recent restrictions to civic freedoms

  • Civil society groups criminalised
  • Protests systematically repressed by authorities
  • National Security Service (NSS) officials on the spot for systematic harassment
  • Blatant attacks on journalists by state and non-state actors continue

CIVICUS has produced a new report on the state of civic freedoms in South Sudan. Since the 2015 Peace Deal, restrictions to freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of expression and freedom of association have persisted.

Freedom of Peaceful Assembly

Arbitrary arrests and violence against protesters

Arbitrary arrest, intimidation and use of force against protesters has characterised the authorities’ response to peaceful protests. Over the last year, there have been reported recurring incidents of law enforcement officials violently dispersing protests and intimidating and arbitrarily arresting protesters.

Freedom of Expression

Arbitrary arrests and harassment of journalists and media outlets

During the past year, cases of harassment, raids on media outlets and arbitrary arrests and detention of journalists by NSS officials, often without charges, were reported. These practices seem solely intended to disrupt media work and intimidate journalists.

Freedom of Association

Criminalisation of civil society organisations and their activities 

On 17 July 2021, the National Security Service (NSS) raided and disbanded an event organised by the South Sudan Civil Society Forum to discuss the constitutional history of South Sudan. According to the NSS, ‘only parliament is authorised to discuss the constitution’.

More information

Download the South Sudan research brief here.