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Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century, 2011 to 2025                          

Republic of South Sudan

Physical mistreatment and abuse are widespread within the criminal justice system. Detainees often face torture or sexual assault in custody. Authorities also conduct regular executions, including of people who were children when convicted. At least nine people were executed in 2019

[Freedom House Country Report, 2020]


CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Sudan.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Torture by Authorities are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring the moral justification for inflicting pain or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment in order to obtain critical information that may save countless lives, or to elicit a confession for a criminal act, or to punish someone to teach him a lesson outside of the courtroom.  Perhaps your paper might focus on some of the methods of torture, like fear, extreme temperatures, starvation, thirst, sleep deprivation, suffocation, or immersion in freezing water.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the people acting in an official capacity who perpetrate such cruelty.  There is a lot to the subject of Torture by Authorities.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.

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Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 13 July 2021]


Physical mistreatment and abuse are widespread within the criminal justice system. Detainees often face torture or sexual assault in custody. Authorities also conduct regular executions, including of people who were children when convicted. At least nine people were executed in 2019.

Government forces raided at least 17 villages in Central Equatoria during their January-to-April offensive. According to UNMISS, civilians were murdered, homes torched, property looted, and schools and clinics ransacked.

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: South Sudan

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 13 July 2021]


According to the UN Security Council Panel of Experts and several independent human rights advocates, the NSS Operations Division maintained a facility known as “Riverside” where it detained, interrogated, and sometimes tortured civilians. In addition the Panel of Experts reported that several detainees died as a result of torture or from other conditions at the facility. The Panel of Experts also alleged the existence of secret, unofficial detention centers operated by the NSS. The Panel of Experts reported allegations of torture, including electrical shocks, and beatings in these sites.

There were numerous additional reported abuses at NSS-run sites, including sexual and gender-based violence, beating and torture of detainees, and harassment and intimidation of human rights defenders and humanitarian workers. In July, Peter Biar Ajak, a prominent political activist and former detainee, claimed that detainees in NSS facilities were subject to sexual abuse, including forced sodomy.


Some detention centers were under the control of local tribal or state authorities, and conditions were uniformly harsh and life threatening. Many facilities in rural areas consisted of uncovered spaces where authorities chained detainees to a wall, fence, or tree, often unsheltered from the sun. As with state-run prisons, sanitary and medical facilities were poor or nonexistent, and potable water was limited. Detainees sometimes spent days outdoors but slept inside in areas that lacked adequate ventilation and lighting.

Conditions in South Sudan People’s Defense Force (SSPDF)-run detention facilities were similar, and in some cases worse, with many detainees held outdoors with poor access to sanitary or medical facilities.


ARBITRARY ARREST: Security forces arbitrarily arrested opposition leaders, civil society activists, businesspersons, journalists, and other civilians due to ethnicity or possible affiliation with opposition forces. The SSPDF and NSS often abused political opponents and others they detained without charge.

South Sudan 'torture' in shipping container prisons: Amnesty

Agence France-Presse AFP, Nairobi, 27 May 2016

[accessed 8 August 2016]

Dozens of prisoners in South Sudan are being held in conditions amounting to torture, crammed into metal containers in baking heat with minimal water and food, Amnesty International said Friday.

Several prisoners, mostly civilians accused of links to opposition or rebel groups but who have not been charged, have died from the punishment, the rights group said. Soldiers have also beaten the prisoners, Amnesty added.

"Detainees are suffering in appalling conditions and their overall treatment is nothing short of torture," said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International's chief in East Africa, adding that prisoners are "fed only once or twice a week and given insufficient drinking water."

Human Rights Watch World Report 2015 - Events of 2014

Human Rights Watch, 29 January 2015 or

[accessed 18 March 2015]


ACCOUNTABILITY AND JUSTICE - South Sudan’s government has not provided accountability for abuses committed by its forces, nor demonstrated the will to hold them to account. The opposition has not, to Human Rights Watch’s knowledge, investigated or punished any abusive forces. A presidential committee formed in January to investigate killings and abuses has made no public update on its findings. Many victims are reluctant to provide information to the committee because of its lack of independence, and because there are no clear mechanisms for victim and witness protection.

S. Sudan rebels accuse government of arrests, torture

Sudan Tribune, Kampala, 31 October 2014

[accessed 27 November 2014]

“We have over 90 senior intellectuals and opinions leaders from Equatoria, including chiefs who have been arrested for telling the truth and many have been killed,” said Pierino Nathaniel Oyet.

The rebel official also alleged that about 80 tortures centres were established in Juba allegedly to mistreats and abuse civilians unlawfully arrested by security agents.

“There are eight torture centres around Juba and one is close to the [Nile] river side. They are torturing and killing people there and throwing them in to the Nile. We are all aware of what the government is doing as far we are concern,” Oyet claimed.

Human Rights Overview

Human Rights Watch

[accessed 13 July 2021]

Following the signing of the 2018 peace deal and creation of a transitional government of national unity in February 2020, violence reduced in most of the country. Some armed groups persist with sporadic fighting and related abuses in parts of Central Equatoria and cyclical intercommunal and intersectional violence escalated--putting civilians at risk of injury and death.

Armed groups, including armed youth groups, have restricted humanitarian access to populations in need. The government has arbitrarily detained critics, civil society members, journalists and politicians often holding them for extended periods. No senior leaders have been held to account for conflict related abuses.


For more articles:: Search Amnesty International’s website

[accessed 14 January 2019]

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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- South Sudan",, [accessed <date>]