Petition against the appearance of Mrs. Angelina Teny on ABC Television on 16 May 2017
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We refer to the interview of Mrs Angelina Teny, the wife of the notorious South Sudanese warlord Dr Riek Machar, on the ABC Lateline on 16 May 2017, interviewed by Ms Emma Alberici of the ABC TV (“the ABC”).
We the undersigned members of the South Sudanese Australian Community take issue with the ABC’s decision allowing Mrs Teny airtime on the ABC, a public-funded television station.
While we acknowledge our country, Australia, has deeply enshrined rights to political communication for all, which include everyone’s right to be heard, we submit that these rights have limits. Mrs Teny’s interview falls within those limits.
Ms Guthrie, the conflict in South Sudan has deeply affected the South Sudanese Australian Community. The Community remains divided and concerned by South Sudanese’s leaders’ failure to resolve the conflict and return the country to normalcy.
The brutal nature of this conflict, of which Mrs Teny is a key figure in the rebel movement, being the Chair on the Defence Committee, is testament to Mrs Teny’s participation in this conflict.
Ms Guthrie, when a person loses a friend or a relative, that person is understandably entitled to seek justice in a fair and legal manner. This process enables the victims’ relatives or friends to let go and heal from their loss. When no justice is served however, and the perpetrator walks free, further pain is inflicted upon the victims’ living relatives or friends.
Mrs. Angelina Teny, the wife of notorious rebel leader Dr. Riek Machar Teny, is equally responsible for the horrendous atrocities committed by her husband in the world’s youngest nation, South Sudan.
As a matter of fact, Australians have lost their lives under the leadership of Mrs Teny and her husband Dr Riek Machar. An example is Akol De Miyar, a young Australian who went to visit South Sudan in 2013. Having come to Australia at a very young age and raised here, Akol was excited to visit his family. Unfortunately, the conflict broke out in 2013 and Akol was caught up in the conflict in the Upper Region where Mrs Teny and her husband are very active.
Akol was reportedly in the United Nations Mission in South Sudan’s Camp, however, he was kidnapped from the Camp by the rebels under the leadership of Mrs Teny and Dr Riek Machar. Akol’s family were deeply affected when they saw Mrs Teny lying on the ABC about her activities.
Furthermore, most of their victims have relatives and friends in Australia, grieving loved ones who still suffer enormous hurt from the unjust loss of innocent lives. It is a deep insult to thousands of these South Sudanese Australians for Mrs Teny to gain a platform on Australia’s most trusted news channel. It is even more devastating to her victims’ relatives and friends that she is deceiving the public about these significant events.
Australia is home to tens of thousands of South Sudanese who migrated here for the safety and freedom that this beautiful country offers. They do not need to be reminded of the trauma they left behind.
We are greatly concerned that your actions have caused a great deal of pain to thousands of individuals and may have further rifts among the South Sudanese community.
In addition to the above, Mrs Teny is operating covert activities with the supporters of their movement in the Eastern part of Melbourne. Mainly, Mrs Teny came to Australia to drum up support for the movement amongst the supporters, mobilise financial resources and spread further hatred among the South Sudanese Community that is trying to cope with the effects of this devastating conflict.
Our members are also very much aware of the cruel behaviour and actions of Rebel leader Dr. Machar, aided by his wife Angelina, since the war broke out in South Sudan in 2013. Examples of this which are well reported by many media bodies are:
- Incitement through tribal lines which led to the 2013 civil war
- Sending thousands of untrained child soldiers (called the white army) into war to be killed
-Targeting killing of people through tribal lines
- Forces under their command committing mass rape, looting and targeted killing
- Many sources indicated that Mrs. Angelina personally commanded forces in Juba after the July 2016 fallout between the president and her husband, despite her husband’s rejection of such a move. This action triggered further fallout which led to the current status quo in the country.
- Through her campaign against certain tribes, she has contributed to the drifting apart of the South Sudanese community in Australia and beyond.
Professor Saul, in an SBS article titled South Sudan the new frontier for Australian foreign fighters (7 August, 2015), stated: “Engaging in fighting in a foreign country [for a non-state armed group] carries a life imprisonment penalty, depending upon how serious the offence in question is."
These non-state forces were commanded under the leadership of Dr Machar and his wife, Angelina Teny. It is mind-boggling to imagine that a criminal such as Mrs Teny is given a platform through your program to continue her onslaught of lies; offending, grieving and re-traumatising her victims’ relatives and friends.
How is it that the ABC, being a reputable and trusted media house, did not adequately research the background of this television guest before freely giving her interview airtime?
These questions now linger in the minds of many South Sudanese Australians.
On behalf of the South Sudanese Community in Australia, we respectfully implore the ABC to demonstrate ethical integrity, to assume personal responsibility and immediately rectify this extremely important matter.
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