Juba/Geneva (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) facilitated the release of three people, including two Sudanese nationals, deprived of their freedom in South Sudan. They were released on 9 October 2020.
“Our role in this week’s release was to ensure that these three individuals were handed over voluntarily and that they had the opportunity to confidentially share their concerns about their situation,” said James Reynolds, the ICRC’s head of delegation in South Sudan. “We safely transported them to Juba with the consent of both parties.”
This marks the second release of detainees in Central Equatoria facilitated by the ICRC this year at the request of the relevant authorities, and the fourth since the signing of the latest peace agreement–the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS)–in September 2018.
An ICRC medical staff member was present at the release to assess their health condition and make sure they were fit to travel. The ICRC was not involved in any negotiations that preceded the release. The ICRC received a request from the National Salvation Front (NAS) to facilitate the release. The ICRC was also in contact with the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) and informed all parties about its role in the release.
The ICRC is mentioned as a neutral facilitator for the release of detainees in the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities, Protection of Civilians, and Humanitarian Access that was signed between the parties in December 2017 as well as a supervisor for the release of detainees in Chapter II of the R-ARCSS. In addition to this week’s release, the ICRC facilitated the release of 23 people being held in relation with the conflict, including 11 children in January 2020.
The ICRC regularly visits places of detention to monitor treatment of detainees and their living conditions. The ICRC seeks to ensure that the authorities can meet relevant national and international standards relating to treatment and conditions of detention through frank and confidential dialogue as well as improving infrastructure and other support where needed.