The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) Country Office in South Sudan on Friday received 7 million Euros from the European Union (EU) to provide protection services to South Sudanese refugees returning home.
Speaking during the signing ceremony in Juba, Ambassador Timo Olkkonen, the Head of the Delegation of the EU to South Sudan, said the project aims to support South Sudanese address protection challenges.
“We need to assist the people of South Sudan to meet the challenges that they have today. But we also need to look forward in developmental terms about how we can support South Sudan in the medium and the longer term,” he said.
Mr Olkkonen stressed that the EU wants to support South Sudanese returnees to have documentation that would guarantee their rights to be upheld as the country prepares for elections at the end of the transitional period in 2024.
Mr Arafat Jamal, the UNHCR Representative in South Sudan, said the project will focus on areas where they feel there is productivity and opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the people through the provision of protection.
“The overall objective of the project is to enable displaced persons and local communities to have access to protection-centred self-reliant oriented support that advances the integration of peace and development and this project is also to be done in a protection conflict-sensitive and climate adapted measure,” he said.
Mr Jamal called on all parties in South Sudan to work towards sustainable peace in the country to pave the way for a safe return of refugees.
“The overall principle is that all parties in South Sudan recognise that there will be no sustainable peace in this country until there is the solution for all citizens, and this includes the 2.3 million South Sudanese who find themselves as refugees,” he said.
“The returnees are 600,000 who have already come back. That is the sign of hope as we move to the future return of refugees and IDPs, as covered in chapter three of the roadmap.” Mr Jamal continued.
He said that the parties to the revitalised peace agreement agreed that South Sudanese who sought refuge in neighbouring countries must return safely, in a dignified manner, and voluntarily so that when there is a spontaneous return, UNHCR can support it.
Source: Radio Tamazuj