Skip to main content
JUBA - 1 Jan 2014

Salva Kiir declares state of emergency in Unity and Jonglei

President Salva Kiir has declared a state of emergency in Unity State and Jonglei State. A presidential spokesman has confirmed the authenticity of a message published using the government's Twitter account.

The state capitals Bentiu and Bor and most of the villages in these two states are controlled by the faction of former vice-president Riek Machar. The announcement came after the government published another tweet that their forces “did a partial withdrawal from Bor but are still fighting in the suburbs”.

It remains unclear what the declaration exactly entails. It is the first time for the Republic of South Sudan to declare the state of emergency since independence in 2011.

According to the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan 2011, the president is allowed to declare a state of emergency “upon the occurrence of an imminent danger”. The declaration of a state of emergency shall be submitted to the National Legislature within fifteen days of the issuance of the declaration. When the National Legislature is not in session, an emergency session shall be convened.

Article 188 says that during a state of emergency, the president may suspend part of the Bill of Rights. However, “there shall be no infringement on the right to life, prohibition against slavery, prohibition against torture, the right of non-discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religious creed, the right to litigation or the right to fair trial”.  The president may dissolve or suspend the state organs. The duration of the measures relating to the state of emergency shall expire after thirty days from the date of issuance of the declaration if the National Legislature does not approve by a resolution the extension of its duration.

In neighbouring Sudan where the state of emergency is declared for Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile, it means suspending the rights and freedoms guaranteed under the constitution, like establishing special courts to deal with rebels.

Photo: SPLA in Unity State during clashes with Sudan in 2012 (File photo)