Expulsion of citizen is a gross violation of the right

Expulsion of citizen is a gross violation of the right
Warrap State State Governor Gen. Aleu Ayieny Aleu (photo credit: courtesy)

The report about the expulsion of a local journalist working for the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) by the governor of Warrap State is very disturbing and a total violation of human rights.

In a letter addressed to the head of the UNMISS field office in Kuajok, the capital of Warrap state, Governor Gen. Aleu Ayieny Aleu claimed that the journalist was involved in activities that threatened peace and stability in the state.

However, Gen Aleu did not disclose what activities the journalist was involved in that posed threats to peace and stability in the state.

“This letter serves to inform your institution that one of your personnel, Mr Manyang Mayom, is considered to be participating in activities that jeopardise peace and stability in Warrap State and, as such, he is given only 72 hours to leave Warrap State,” stated the letter.

South Sudan’s constitution (2011) under the Bill of Rights talks about freedom of movement and residence. It stipulates that every citizen shall have the right to freedom of movement and the liberty to choose his or her residence, except for reasons of public health and safety as shall be regulated by law.

“Every citizen shall have the right to leave and or return to South Sudan.” Therefore, this step taken by the Governor of Warrap State to expel a citizen from the area was a total violation of South Sudan’s constitution, alongside other international laws such as the UN charter.

This particular case has stripped the person of the right to freedom of movement and residence that is assured by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966). Adopted by the U.N. General Assembly, Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.

It also states that everyone has the right to leave any country, including their own, and to return to their country.

Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights incorporates this right into treaty law:

(1) Everyone who is lawfully within the territory of a state has the right to free movement and the freedom to choose his residence within that territory.

(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including their home country.

(3) The aforementioned rights are not subject to any restrictions unless they are required by law to protect national security, public order (order public), public health or morals, or the rights and freedoms of others, and are consistent with the other rights recognized in this Covenant.

(4) No one’s right to enter their own country shall be arbitrarily denied.

In any case, not even the president has the right to expel any of his citizens from a country, in whatever the case may be. It is only the person who may decide to leave the country or the area if he or she feels his or her life is being threatened.

The person can be granted asylum based on the evidence provided. Nevertheless, the authorities have the right, through the constitution to punish any citizen who abuses his or her rights in a court of law, but they cannot give a punishment that has not been stated in the constitution.

Expelling the journalist might have violated his professional ethics and code of conduct, but the constitution is the supreme law that overrides all other laws. If any action is to be taken, it should not deprive him of his constitutional rights.

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