Pressure mounts on gov’t to repatriate refugees

Pressure mounts on gov’t to repatriate refugees
Rebecca Nyandeng, Vice President for Gender and Youth Cluster (photo credit: Ikilass Henry/The City Review)

The Vice President for Gender Cluster, Rebecca Nyandeng de Mabior, has revealed that countries hosting South Sudanese refugees are pressurising the government to repatriate them.

Nyandeng said South Sudan has been given until 2022 to repatriate its people back home.

“They don’t want to see our people in their countries, and I want the governors to know this,” she said.

She made the remarks during the launch of the fifth governors’ forum in Juba on Monday.

However, Nyandeng failed to mention the countries that were mounting pressure on Juba.

Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as the Central African Republic, are among the countries currently hosting South Sudanese refugees who fled the December 2013 civil war.

However, in March, the government of Kenya petitioned the UN Refugee Agency (UNCHR) over its plan to shut down Kakuma and Daadab refugee camps, hosting thousands of South Sudanese.

But the UNCHR opposed the plan by the Kenyan government, arguing that Kenya was obliged under the international mechanisms to offer a haven to and protect asylum seekers.

‘The Kenya refugee operation will continue to be marked by the political developments and humanitarian situation in the region, mainly in its two main refugee-producing countries, i.e. Somalia and South Sudan, ” the UN refugee agency said in a statement in March.

Nyandeng, who was speaking during the opening session of the five-day governors’ forum in Juba on Monday, said her leadership, in collaboration with partners, would form a committee to visit South Sudanese refugees’ host countries to assess their situation.

“We will prepare ourselves early next year so that there is a committee which will be formed by us, UNCHR, and all our partners so that we can visit those host countries where our refugees are and this time we want dignified settlements for our people so that they don’t continue looking for refuge in other countries,” said Nyandeng.

Organised by the Office of the President with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the governors’ conference is aimed at finding solutions to all issues affecting the implementation of the revitalised peace agreement.

It also seeks to ensure the roles of governors and special administrators make South Sudan peaceful, stable, and prosperous for the returnees to rebuild their livelihoods as well as for the development of the country.