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Amnesty International's report on surveillance in South Sudan

"South Sudan: "These Walls have Ears": The Chilling Effect of Surveillance in South Sudan"

This report provides new insights into the surveillance capacity of the Government of South Sudan and the impact of how this is abusively deployed without safeguards. Cumulatively, electronic and physical surveillance – both in practice and perception – have created a pervasive climate of fear and self-censorship. While many human rights defenders continue to courageously work within the limits of this repressive environment, free speech is fraught with danger. Women human rights defenders face the dual challenge of threats and intimidation in public and private spheres and are perceived by most South Sudanese men to have transgressed gendered social norms...

The Government of South Sudan conducts communications surveillance with at least one type of equipment bought in Israel. Amnesty International found that, at least from March 2015 to February 2017, Israeli Verint Systems Ltd, a subsidiary of American Verint Systems Inc., through Vivacell Network of the World (henceforth Vivacell), provided the South Sudanese authorities, including the NSS, with communications interception equipment and annual support services. This is concerning because both South Sudan’s legal framework governing surveillance and the Israeli export licencing regime are not in line with international human rights standards. The NSS can likely only intercept communications with collaboration from telecommunication service providers. Tapped telephone conversations have been presented as evidence in court, recounted to a detainee in interrogations, and appear to have provided leads for arbitrary arrests. The NSS also monitors media and social media and has used this information to arbitrarily arrest and illegally detain journalists and human rights defenders.

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