South Sudan civil war broke out In late December 2013, the UN Security Council authorized a rapid deployment of about 6,000 security forces, in addition to 7,600 peacekeepers already in the country, to aid in nation-building efforts.
In May 2014, the Security Council voted in a rare move to shift the mission’s mandate from nation-building to civilian protection, authorizing UN troops to use force.
Since reprioritizing protection, the UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan has faced extreme challenges due to the deterioration of the security situation and its complex relationship with the government of the Republic of South Sudan.
The UN authorized the deployment of an additional four thousand peacekeepers as part of a regional protection force in 2016, although their arrival was delayed until August 2017.
In a recent development, Filippo Grandi from the United Nations Higher Commissioner for Refugees has extended an appeal to the government of South Sudan to provide better security conditions for returning refugees and IDPs vowing that the UNHCR will help in the settlement of refugees and IDPs.
He however promised that his office is mobilizing available resources to meet the needs of South Sudanese refugees returning home from the respective nonboring host countries.
Statistics from the UN agency indicate that over 4.3 million displaced people are from South Sudan, including refugees, Internally Displaced Persons, and asylum-seekers. Its dismaying and sad to not that due to the war, over half of all South Sudanese refugees are children.
Grandi, an official from UNHCR confirmed that agency’s support from his office in ensuring the rebuilding of lives and dignity of the returnees.
An initiative called ‘pocket of hope’ has been worked out by the UNHCR office in South Sudan. According to him, ‘Pocket of Hope’ is like a seed, it is one of the first projects to be implemented in five areas in South Sudan.
With high hopes on the revitalized unity government at stake, Grandi urged the implementing bodies within the government of South Sudan and all relevant political groups to step up efforts to stabilize the security situation to enable refugees and internally displaced persons to return home and rebuild the nation long thought about.
Therefore, the government of South Sudan is highly responsible for providing the security needed for refugees to return back home. This means all political leaders must avoid conflict as prescribed in the Revitalized peace agreement signed by Kiir and Machar in 2018.
The implementation of the Revitalized agreement met so many challenges which include increasing intercommunal violence and attacks, the threat of the peace process unraveling, and dire humanitarian conditions across large swaths of South Sudan has placed renewed urgency on improving security and meeting basic protection needs for South Sudan’s civilians.
More than a year after President of South Sudan Salva Kiir and former opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar formed a unity government, there has been slow progress on implementing the country’s main peace agreement which was signed in 2018 and ended a civil war that began in 2013.
Grandi also cautioned the leaders saying if you have more conflict, people will not come back and you will have more refugees abroad.
He stressed the need for the government to prepare for the return of refugees through rehabilitating infrastructure, restoring security and stability as well as speeding up the implementation of the 2018 peace deal which he described as slow.
In reaction to overwhelming violence against civilians in the civil war, the UN peacekeeping mission in the country (UNMISS) established large-scale camps meant to protect civilians from ongoing violence.
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