Digital Rights in South Sudan, UPR Submission, Session 40
Digital rights and freedoms should be accorded the same protection as offline rights and freedoms. Protection of freedom of expression, access to information, data protection and privacy have been guaranteed in international and regional instruments to which South Sudan is a party. Consequently, they must be considered in the recommendations made to South Sudan during the third cycle of the UPR. In the second cycle of the UPR in 2016, South Sudan received 233 recommendations from 85 countries with 11 of those recommendations made in reference to the right to freedom of expression and media. The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) estimated that as of June 2018, only 8% of individuals use the Internet in South Sudan — twice the number who had access in 2014 which was 3.8%. While this percentage might seem low, it is important to note that South Sudan has faced many protracted political and economic challenges since it became a country in 2011. This gradual growth presents the need for South Sudan to harness human rights gains by ensuring that they are protected both offline and online. South Sudan has obligations to protect the right to privacy and freedom of opinion and expression as provided for under Articles 17 and 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which it has recently ratified and the right to freedom of expression as provided for under Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR).