UNHCR urges South Sudan to improve security to facilitate return of refugees

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Filippo Grandi. (Courtesy photo).

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Filippo Grandi, has called on the government of South Sudan to improve security, rule of law and good governance in order to create an enabling environment for the return of refugees, according to Xinhua News Agency.

“What people (refugees) need is security and it’s the responsibility of the government to provide security to refugees or Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and all South Sudanese,” Mr Grandi told journalists yesterday (Thursday) in Juba at the end of his four-day visit to South Sudan.

During the visit, Mr Grandi met with top South Sudanese officials and visited IDPs and refugees in Bentiu, Jamjam and Yambio.

“Millions of South Sudanese remain in exile abroad or displaced in their country but growing numbers are returning home spontaneously. Returnee women in Bentiu told us that their challenges are now poverty, land issues and inadequate services,” he said.

There are more than two million South Sudanese refugees in neighbouring countries like Uganda, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan.

Xinhua News Agency reported that the UNHCR chief said the current security situation in South Sudan is relatively stable compared to 2017, when he last visited the country.

However, Mr Grandi said some parts of Sudan, like Maban in Upper Nile state remain difficult to access due to insecurity.

Maban is home to thousands of Sudanese refugees mostly from the Blue Nile and South Kordofan areas who were displaced as a result of decades of conflict in Sudan.

Some displaced people returning are finding difficulties in reclaiming their land that is being illegally occupied by other people, according to Mr Grandi.

He urged the government to improve service delivery to its population affected by more than six years of conflict.

“I encourage the government to improve security and rule of law,” Mr Grandi said.

“We have to help the government more and more on the development.”

The commissioner called on the government to focus more on women as many of them are still traumatised after witnessing the killing of their husbands in addition to being raped during the conflict.

Mr Grandi urged the transitional unity government to speed up implementation of the 2018 revitalised peace deal.

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