Call by UN, USA, Amnesty International: Free South Sudanese human and environmental rights defender Peter Biar Ajak!
by Joseph Oduha
March 8, 2019
For seven excruciating months, Peter Biar Ajak has been languishing in a hell-hole of a prison in South Sudan.
Instead of helping protect his peoples’ human and environmental rights – a role that his unique set of qualifications and skills had predestined him for – in the opinion of everybody from the UN and the Congress of the United States to Amnesty International and other renowned organizations.
Peter Ajak was arrested on July 28, 2018, for purportedly “treason and other national security offenses”.
Peter was arrested at Juba airport. He was returning from abroad. Peter was getting a doctorate from Cambridge, one of the world’s most prestigious universities.
Quite an achievement for any student – especially one who had spent his childhood as a “Lost Boy” – a child forced by war to flee his home and scrabble for a living.
Peter went on to resettle in the United States. He went on to study at Philadelphia’s La Salle and Harvard Universities.
While doing such, Peter Biar Ajak served as a political commentator and co-founded the South Sudan Young Leaders’ Forum (SSYLF), which has become a well-respected advocate of political and environmental rights in South Sudan – and thus against the forcible expulsion by oil companies-paid militias of South Sudanese from their homes and land.
It was this defense of human rights that got him in trouble with the Kiir regime in South Sudan, which has clamped down on any forms of opposition.
Peter is facing the death penalty upon conviction.
“South Sudan must immediately free human rights defender Peter Biar Ajak,” states the UN’s Commission of Human Rights in South Sudan, in a statement released on March 6th.