The political unrest/civil war in South Sudan has over the years caused a humbling humanitarian crisis. In late December 2013., various rebel groups joined a crusade of fighting with the aim of removing H.E Salva kiir’s government from power.
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 following the outbreak of the war.
Its estimated that close to 7 million Sudanese and South Sudanese displaced within and outside their countries, finding solutions based on peace and development is crucial for their future.
An international agency the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, with the oversight leadership role of Filippo Grandi, has called for concerted efforts to find lasting solutions for nearly 7 million forcibly displaced people from Sudan and South Sudan, following the conclusion of a three-day visit to the two countries.
His visit comes days after the Sudanese Prime Minister Hamdok had a two-day state visit in South Sudan Juba. Incredibly, the two leaders discussed recent infightings that are hampering the implementation of the Revitalized peace Agreement of 2018. Hamdok congratulated Kiir upon moving solidly to implement the agreement and commended his leadership.
The Sudanese prime Minister also cautioned Kiir that no peace agreement will pass without challenges, but he is sure Salva Kiir will be able to overcome them and support the context of IGAD and of Sudan.
The revitalized version of a 2015 peace agreement was signed by Kiir and his first deputy Dr. Riek Machar in September 2018. This ended a seven-year-old conflict in February 2020 with the appointment of Machar, the leader of the main armed opposition group SPLM-IO, as First Vice President.
The UNHCR official called for continous support for the peace process specifically a solutions initiative that was agreed to by the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Support Platform, with support from UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.
Grandi confirmed UNHCR is committed to finding lasting solutions for refugees, internally displaced people (IDPs), returnees and host communities in both countries.
In his visit, Grandi met with Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, who is also the current IGAD chairperson. The two leaders discussed how both countries can work together to lead the process of finding durable and sustainable solutions for their displaced populations in the region.
Similarly, In South Sudan, the High Commissioner met with President Salva Kiir in the capital Juba and discussed the need for peace in finding lasting solutions for the country’s displaced population and efforts to build the country’s economy.
According to Grandi, “Returning home is one solution but it is not the only one. The path to providing secure and sustainable solutions can be many, but the initiative must ensure that whether someone chooses to return on their own to South Sudan or if they remain displaced, they can do so with dignity and sense of belonging,”
Ehen the Revitalized Peace Agreement in 2018 was signed, close to 300,000 South Sudanese refugees simultaneously returned to the country. Despite the conditions and current situation, over 1 million more displaced inside the country have also returned to their homes.
Grandi urged the two leaders to find amicable solutions to this crisis because South Sudanese returnees are coming back to find their homes destroyed, with little or no infrastructure or social services.
The UNHCR official further emphasized that the Refugee Agency will continue working with the governments of Sudan and South Sudan and rely on the support of the international donor community to assist returnees
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