From: U.S. Department of State
October 3, 2014
The United States government urges the Government of South Sudan to engage in an inclusive consultation process on draft legislation aimed at regulating Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) operations and the National Security Services (NSS).
We are deeply concerned that the current NGO bill, as drafted, could restrict civil society space and hinder the formation and operation of NGOs. As the leading donor of humanitarian and development assistance in South Sudan, we are particularly concerned that this bill would further restrict the delivery of life-saving humanitarian assistance and limit the important work that NGOs are doing to promote health, education, and overall development. We are also concerned that the NSS bill appears to curtail due process and is at odds with freedoms enshrined in South Sudan’s Transitional Constitution and international norms. Regulation and codification can be appropriate, but should be done in a manner that preserves freedoms of association, assembly, and speech and protects civil liberties.
We welcome previous engagement by the Government of South Sudan with civil society on the NGO bill, and urge it to continue the dialogue with the legislature and civil society on both draft bills. Strengthening the rule of law and ensuring that a vibrant civil society can contribute to social, economic, and political development, in partnership with the Government, will best ensure stability, prosperity, and peace for all of South Sudan’s people.
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