The United States is deeply concerned by the South Sudanese government's increasing efforts to silence South Sudanese civil society groups.
The UN Security Council, led by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power and Senegalese Permanent Representative Fode Seck, recently met with civil society representatives during a visit to South Sudan. Ambassador Power said she was "outraged to learn that the South Sudanese government harassed and threatened civil society actors following the council's visit."
State Department spokesperson John Kirby said, "We have consistently expressed our longstanding concern about the intimidation of civil society representatives to senior South Sudanese officials and have demanded an end to these acts, which have included violence, intimidation, and threats to shut down civil society groups and to seize their assets.
“Recently, these actions have been taken under the guise of the recently passed Non-Governmental Organizations Act and the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission Act. Together, these Acts are being used to severely limit the ability of civil society and humanitarian organizations to function effectively in South Sudan.
“The  Transitional Constitution of South Sudan protects the rights of freedom of expression, assembly, and association. The United States urges the Government of South Sudan to respect these inalienable rights and to allow unhindered political and civic engagement, as these are vital elements for an environment conducive to the stabilization of South Sudan.
A free and vibrant civil society is the cornerstone of any democracy. As South Sudan seeks an end to the conflict, organizations must have the freedom to operate unhindered by government intimidation, and the South Sudanese people need to be free to voice their opinions in order for there to be a lasting return to peace.”
Ambassador Power said, "The United States condemns any attempts by governments to silence freedom of expression, and we condemn all restrictions on civil society actors who organize peacefully and provide constructive criticism. The voices of civil society must be elevated, not silenced."