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Gov’t urged to restore peace

By Bullen Bala Alexander

United Nations Higher Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has called on the government to restore permanent peace in the country in order to pave way for the return of refugees.  

Jamal Arafat, UNHCR Country Representative revealed that there were nearly 2.2million South Sudanese refugees in neighboring countries and1.6 million Internally Displaced Persons [IDPs] willing to return home but they want their safety.

“South Sudanese refugees deserve the chance to return to their homes to live in safety and focus for their future, however, despite the wishes to return home they may be unable to do so and the reasons include conflicts, violence, poverty, inequality, denial of property rights and other services,” Mr. Arafat said.

He said refugees have been the victims of the conflicts and they have been torn apart from their nation, the participation in the national dialogue is a key in building a durable and sustainable peace in the country.

He added that was very important and encouraging to hear and to see the refugees are part of the national dialogue.

“Peace is not complete until the nation is complete, and nation is not complete until all of its citizens have meaningful role to play in building durable and sustainable peace,” said Arafat the UNHCR Country Representative.

According to the UNHCR boss, the refugees want to be able to return in safety and they want affirmative action for those who might have been excluded such as youth, persons with disabilities and women, they want anti-corruption laws, free and fair elections, and they want strong revenue policies, they want land reform that respects women rights to own, inherit and transfer land.

“They have dialogued and they are helping to heal the nation and we fully support this move until these are addressed it will be difficulty for them to return their home, we believe that all peaceful initiatives providing the displaced persons opportunities to voice their concerns such as the National Dialogue should be implemented.”

“They want housing, land and property arrangement for displaced people, they want economic stability which can create livelihood opportunities, they want professionalization and diversity in the army and they want to see disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of refugee population,” he stated.

He said the refugees are the key to peace, UNHCR is your partner in achieving this peace so let us dialogue, heal, and let us work together to make sure that all South Sudanese contribute to this dialogue and move ahead.

“We have been engaged in this national dialogue since 2017 when I was special advisor on South Sudanese situation, I met with National Dialogue Steering committee for refugees and international outreach in accordance with the principles of inclusivity representation,” he revealed.

He said the aim was to ensure that the refugees represented 2.2 million in excel could contribute to the national reconciliation process.

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