UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi urged South Sudan to commit efforts Thursday toward strengthening security, rule of law and good governance to create an environment for the return of refugees.
“What people need is security and it is the responsibility of the government to provide security to refugees or internally displaced persons [IDP] and all South Sudanese,” Grandi told reporters after concluding a four-day visit to South Sudan where he met top South Sudanese officials and visited IDPs and refugees in Bentiu, Jamjam and Yambio.
He noted the number of returnees from refugee camps in neighboring countries has recently increased, despite millions of South Sudanese refugees still outside the young nation.
“Millions of South Sudanese remain in exile abroad or displaced in their country but growing numbers are returning home spontaneously,” said Grandi. “Returnee women in Bentiu told us that their challenges are now poverty, land issues, inadequate services.”
There are more than 2 million South Sudanese refugees in neighboring countries, including Sudan, Uganda and Kenya, among others.
The UN official revealed that the current security situation is relatively stable compared to 2017 during his last visit to the country.
Grandi said some areas of the country like Maban in Upper Nile state remain difficult to access due to insecurity.
He also said some displaced persons returning are finding difficulties in reclaiming land that is being illegally occupied by others.
“I encourage the government on improving security and rule of law and we have to help the government more and more on the development,” said Grandi.
He encouraged the government to focus more on women as many are still traumatized after witnessing the killing of husbands, in addition to being raped during the conflict.
“We have observed that many people decided to return back home since the peace agreement was signed two years ago, 350,000 have returned since the revitalized peace agreement was signed,” said Grandi.
Source: Anadolu Agency