International NGO Human Rights Watch is calling on South Sudan to investigate the forced disappearances of Dong Samuel Luak and Aggrey Idri, who went missing from the streets of Nairobi in January 2017.
Luak, left, a human rights lawyer and critic of President Salva Kiir’s government, held refugee status in Kenya when he went missing. He was headed to catch a bus downtown when he was last seen. Idri, an SPLA-IO supporter loyal to exiled opposition leader Riek Machar, and former head of its humanitarian affairs committee, disappeared the next day.
“Their abduction is widely viewed as the result of collusion between South Sudan and Kenya, but both governments have denied having custody of the men, or knowledge of their whereabouts,” said HRW in a statement. Although a Kenyan court ruled against their deportation, HRW cites credible sources who placed Luak and Idri in Juba before that decision was handed down.
South Sudanese leaders agreed to release “any person who has been deprived of his or her liberty for reasons related to the conflict” as part of a December 2017 Cessation of Hostilities agreement, but the human rights NGO said that’s not been the case for Luak, Idri and likely many others.
A delay in peace talks set to begin last week should have no bearing on the detentions and disappearances, HRW said in its joint statement with Amnesty International.
“South Sudanese leaders should demonstrate their commitment to basic human rights and take concrete action on enforced disappearances and unlawful detention,” said Jehanne Henry, a team leader in Human Rights Watch’s Africa division.