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Friends' Meeting House

12 Jesus Lane

Cambridge

CB5 8BA

United Kingdom

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As a friend and colleague of Peter Biar Ajak Dr Stephanie Diepeveen will be speaking about the Free Peter Biar Campaign, and its particular challenges and developments. Stephanie has been actively involved in coordinating awareness-raising activities at Cambridge, in the UK and as part of wider international efforts. She is the Deputy Director of the Centre of Governance and Human Rights at the University of Cambridge.

On 28 July 2018, the Republic of South Sudan Intelligence agency- National Security Services(NSS)- detained academic and youth leader, Peter Biar Ajak, at Juba International Airport while he was due to attend the Red Army Commemoration service in Awiel, South Sudan. Peter’s arrest comes amid a worrying trend in arbitrary detentions due to a crackdown on freedom of expression by the South Sudanese government. Amnesty International reports numerous recent arrests without charges. This goes against South Sudan’s constitution which states no one can be held without charge for more than 24 hours.

Peter was one of ‘the Lost Boys of South Sudan’. Displaced during the war when he was young, he lived in refugee camps before being taken to the United States by humanitarian charities. Once in the US he learnt English and studied hard, securing a place at La Salle University, then completed a masters at Harvard before studying for a PhD at the University of Cambridge. Peter has always kept his focus on South Sudan and his hope for a peaceful future for his country. He has worked in think tanks, his national government and institutions working for development and peace. He has dedicated himself to creating opportunities for dialogue among South Sudanese youth. He founded the South Sudan Young Leaders Forum (SSYLF) bringing together young leaders, both men and women, from across across ethnicities and politics to encourage youth throughout the countryside to embrace peaceful dialogue.

Peter has remained in detention and without formal charges since his arrest in late July. Since early October, he has had limited visitation rights, without access to legal counsel or visits from his family. Friends, colleagues and civil society activists have rallied around Peter, with a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for legal support, a change.org petition with more than 79,000 signatures, as well as ongoing awareness raising campaigns both targeted and more widespread in the UK, US, Kenya and South Sudan. Amidst these efforts, the situation remains precarious and we are yet to see any clear signs of progress towards respect for Peter’s rights and just treatment.

Following the talk, there will be an opportunity to ask questions . After refreshments the Cambridge City group will hold its monthly campaigns meeting from 9-10pm - newcomers are very welcome, especially if you would like to find out more about getting involved.

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Friends' Meeting House

12 Jesus Lane

Cambridge

CB5 8BA

United Kingdom

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