A lawmaker representing Rubkona County at the National Legislative Assembly has condemned youth arrests in Unity State.
The security alleged for arrested eight youth members last week over what residents described peaceful demonstration against Greater Pioneer Oil Company- GPOC.
The Greater Pioneer Oil Company is a Chinese oil and gas company contracted by the government of South Sudan.
Youth in Rubkona demonstrated on Friday 16 October, demanding equal employment in the oil sector produces in their area. The authority said the youth was arrested after using violence and closed the company’s gate to address their concerns.
Eight youth members were later released without charge after Governor Joseph Monytuil’s intervention. The youth demanded employment, business support, scholarship, road construction, environmental protection, construction of health centers, and schools.
Hon. Buay Keke Turol, an MP of Rubkona County at the National Assembly. He said youth arrest was unconstitutional. Such action was against citizens’ rights because they used non-violence to raise their concerns to the oil company.
“We want to say that young people deserved opportunities in their country. They deserve to be given opportunities to work and prosper to establish their facilities and provide leadership in this country. This is their right. The government should make sure that such opportunities are provided to the people” he said.
The director of information and communication in Unity State, Kang Bol, acknowledged that Rubkona youth have a constitutional right to raise their demands. But should not be a violent process that undermines the labor law.
Kang blamed GPOC for recruiting people in Juba. He said the company should publicly advertise the vacancies so that citizens applied. Recruiting people in the national capital and bring to the field without considering people in the oil-producing area is a mistake.
“Well, you know peaceful protest no one should stand against it even the state government does not stop anybody from claiming his or her rights. But, why the security arrested them was the action they have taken. We mean by the peaceful demonstration by putting your demands or your complaint in writing and then presenting to the company’s authority. And another sector saying this is our demands,” Kang stated.
In June 2020, the national staff working in GPOC have demonstrated in Unity State against its policy. They said it is discrimination against national workers by the oil consortium.
The GPOC was quoted denied any wrong-doing. They rejected and condemned unfair discrimination or ill intentions towards National Employees.