Juba, South Sudan – 27th November 2017

National Dialogue to GoSS: Release All Political Prisoners and Secure Freedom of Speech

Press Release
Alfred Taban Journalist National Dialogue
Alfred Taban talks to the media about government and opposition respecting ceasefire agreements.

The National Dialogue has released a statement confirming an ongoing behind-the-scenes effort to improve the climate for National Dialogue in South Sudan. Negotiations between the National Dialogue and the Government revolve around securing the release of all political prisoners, guaranteeing the right to Freedom of Speech, and ensuring Freedom of the Press for all journalists and media institutions, whether foreign or domestic.

“The steering committee is engaging the government to release all political prisoners, open up spaces for free media and freedom of speech and create an atmosphere conducive for a comprehensive national dialogue.”
– National Dialogue Secretariat, November 26th, 2017

The National Dialogue confirmed in the statement that they have been in talks with the GoSS on this subject matter since Summer, but that now is the time to act, especially since the Consultation Phase of the process has begun in earnest. Consultation participants have expressed documented concerns about their lack of Freedom of Speech. The National Dialogue feels strongly that, like journalists, consultation participants should suffer no fear of reprisal.

It is important that the general public be fully aware of — and confident in — the autonomy of the National Dialogue from the Government of South Sudan. The Government of South Sudan is seen as a key stakeholder in the process but not its owner.

“There was a lot of hesitation to support the national dialogue, but the progress made thus far by the steering committee has proved beyond any doubt that it is an independent body that is determined to reach out to all South Sudanese and is willing to for an inclusive, credible and impactful dialogue.”
– National Dialogue Secretariat, November 26th, 2017

The National Dialogue also stressed to government officials the need to honor all existing cease-fire and peace treaty agreements, including recent revitalization efforts. Safety and security are paramount to the successful execution of all phases of the National Dialogue process.

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Vincent Wanga contact@ssnationaldialogue.org