South Sudan: ‘We are at risk and on the run’: Security agents track down peaceful protesters
On 16 May 2019, South Sudanese took to the streets in Australia, the United States, Ethiopia and Sudan to express their concerns about, and dissatisfaction with, the policies and action of the Government of South Sudan. These peaceful protests were organized by the Red Card Movement (RCM), a nascent South Sudanese diaspora-led youth movement, which is open to any individual who embraces its non-violent approach, and consists mainly of human rights defenders, civil society activists, students, academics and politicians. Inspired by the protests in Sudan and Algeria that led to the fall of former presidents Omar al-Bashir and Abdelaziz Bouteflika, RCM identifies itself as a “civil rights movement establish[ed] to rebuild and safeguard a fair, free and open society,” which seeks “to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and fraternity” and operates under the mottos, “Kiir must go” and “Don’t be silent, don’t be violent.” Soon after its emergence and announcements of planned peaceful demonstrations, real or perceived RCM members were targeted with arbitrary restrictions and arrest, harassment and intimidation. This briefing documents written and verbal threats against, as well as detention of RCM members and assaults of journalists by the South Sudanese government to silence criticism of the government and its leaders.