Union of visually impaired sues state officials over torture

Union of visually impaired sues state officials over torture

The Union of Visually Impaired Persons of Central Equatoria State has filed a case against some individuals in the State Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare, after four of their members were assaulted and seriously injured.

The medical results from the Juba Teaching Hospital revealed that out of four members, three of them suffered broken hands after they were tortured by state national security personnel last week.

Several of the victims claimed they were beaten using the grips of the guns. The alleged security personnel are said to have been directed by the Director-General at the State Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare to evict them from the Buluk office.

 “We have opened a police case against the staff of the ministry of gender, children and social welfare. It is the union that opened the case against them for authorising the national security personnel to come and torture us,” said Robert Ladu Kamal, the Chairperson of the Union of Visually Impaired Persons for Central Equatoria State.

“We have four members who are seriously injured and the medical results indicate that their hands have been broken and the other one has serious body pain,” he added.

Ladu said those who sustained injuries were examined at Juba Teaching Hospital and the medical results revealed they suffered body damage after the horror incident.

“One of the directors… has confirmed to one of the radio stations that he was the one who sent the national security personnel to come and close the union and that they have been involved in the torturing of our members,” said Ladu.

He said among those whose hands got broken included Moses Gabriel Wani, who is the secretary of the union, and other members, Noah Nimaya, Augustino Lonya, and Mandela Issac.

Another victim named Mandela Issac said since the incident occurred, nobody from the state government has visited them to check their condition.

He said it was only a Director of Gender in the Office of the Vice President of Gender and Youth Cluster, Rebecca Nyandeng De Mabior, who visited them and donated $200 as her contribution.

“It was that money that helped some of us go for x-rays. “We are going back today to the police after confirmation from Juba Teaching Hospital because one of our members who was seriously injured in the hand is being taken for an x-ray,” said Mandela.

Blamed for silence                                              

He said nobody has condemned the incident, even the office of the state governor, the faith-based group and civil society organisations have all been silent.

“Our government is not serious about human rights violations. They were supposed to react very fast because our rights had been violated by national security and those [who] them the orders,” said Mandela. 

“It was only the director of gender legal advisor who came to see us from the office of the Vice President of Gender and Youth Cluster,” he added.

He praised the office of Vice President Rebecca Nyandeng for showing concern about them, and he said those are some of the leaders they want.

The union also blamed one of their colleagues, who they said is an SPLM member representing people with disabilities in parliament.

“There is one of us who is an SPLM league member who was also involved in the criminal acts. This person was against the union. We are appealing to the Governor of Central Equatoria State to revoke his appointment.

 “There should be a consultation if they are selecting or electing a person with a disability.” It is very unfortunate to have leaders like that one,” the statement read in part.

Stephen Dhieu, director-general of people with disabilities in the Office of the Vice President, described the incident as sad.

He said they did not expect security organs to beat up people with disabilities in their centre.

Dhieu added that they would continue with the investigation since they had registered four cases of injuries.

However, Elijah Malec Apollo, who is a victim, told The City Review last week that the incident came as a result of interest in owning the union by some of the officials at the state ministry of gender.

He said they wanted to rename the union to be with only one tribe.

“This union is for everybody. We are not politicians because we are working and guided by our constitution. They want our chairperson to be taken out,” he said.

Last month, Juba City Council Legislative Assembly legislators announced a plan to register all persons with disabilities in the city in order to improve service delivery to them.

The decision came after the members of the Disability Forum Club raised concerns about the lack of data on people with disabilities in Juba City.