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Opposition groups negotiating a peace deal in South Sudan said on Tuesday they would not sign the proposed agreement if the government enabled legislation allowing individuals to be detained without arrest warrants, the Associated Press reported.

The controversial National Security Act, which amends a bill that has been in the works since 2014, passed in South Sudan’s parliament last week. President Salva Kiir now has a month to sign it into law.

The legislation would allow National Security Service officers to arrest and detain, without a warrant, any person suspected of committing an offense against the state. The offenses are only loosely defined.

In Nairobi, where the Kenyan government has hosted mediation talks since May, opposition groups have threatened to withhold their approval of the nearly complete peace deal if Kiir approves the bill.

“This law violates the fundamental rights and freedoms of South Sudanese citizens, it eliminates civic and political space,” Pagan Amum from the South Sudan Opposition Movement Alliance told the Associated Press.

The United Nations’ representation in South Sudan also called for the legislation to return to parliament for revision.

“As South Sudan prepares for its first elections since independence, the citizenry must be able to exercise their civil and political rights without fear of retribution,” said UN Human Rights Commissioner Barney Afako.

Opposition groups were invited to negotiate in Nairobi after they were left out of an agreement in 2018 to end a five-year civil war that killed 400,000 people.

The talks are dubbed Tumaini, which is Swahili for “hope,” and resulted in a draft deal to postpone South Sudan’s first-ever election, which is currently set for December, so that the country’s constitution and electoral rules can be ready for the vote.

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